Echoes of the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh

In the 1970s, South-east Asian governments had to contend with upheavals not dissimilar to what Afghanistan's neighbours are experiencing now.

People crowd North Vietnamese Army tanks taking position near the presidential palace in Saigon, following a last ditch battle, on April 30, 1975. PHOTO: AFP
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As the rapid collapse of the Afghan government played out on television over the past few days, I was riveted by the images of the Taleban advance and the scenes of panic and desperation in Kabul. It made me recall the Khmer Rouge conquest of Phnom Penh and the fall of Saigon in April 1975.

As I wondered how Afghanistan's neighbours who had supported the American ouster of the Taleban were reacting to events in Kabul, I was reminded of my own reactions at Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April 1975 as we followed developments in Indochina.

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