The situation in Afghanistan has accelerated at an alarming pace over recent days, with the Taliban seizing control of all major cities much faster than expected. 

For many, the events seem similar to the fall of Saignon which marked the final days of the Vietnam War. 

And now, 46 years on, history is repeating itself. 

Indeed, on Monday morning UK defence secretary tearfully admitted that "some people won't get back" from Afghanistan as the desperate attempt to help British nationals escape continues. 

With references to "Saigon 2.0", what exactly was the fall of Saigon and how does it compare to the current situation in Afghanistan?

What was the fall of Saigon? 

Saigon is the former name of southern Vietnamese city Ho Chi Minh, having been officially renamed in 1976, once year after the culmination of the Vietnam war. 

The war was fought between the north and south of Vietnam, with America supporting the southern side. 

They were eventually defeated in 1975, after Saigon fell to northern troops.

When the city of Saigon was occupied by north Vietnam on April 30 1975, American citizens needed to get out of the city as quickly as possible.

What ensued was a race against time; Saigon had been captured much quicker than expected, making it difficult to evacuate American troops and civilians. 

Aircrafts were sent on rescue missions but could not land due to the presence of northern troops in the city. 

Meanwhile, embassy officials were blocked from reaching the airport, leaving helicopter evacuation the only possible exit route. 

American and Vietnamese people hoping to escape climbed to the roof of the US embassy waiting for military helicopters to rescue them. 

Over the course of the rescue mission, around 7,000 people were evacuated and just hours later, the southern Vietnamese side announced surrender, signalling the end of the war.

Why is the current situation in Afghanistan being compared to the fall of Saigon? 

In 2021, many people are drawing comparisons between the current situation in Afghanistan and the fall of Saigon. 

Like the northern Vietnamese in Saigon, the Taliban have taken control of the country much faster than the US or the allies expected, meaning countries once again face a race against time to evacuate people. 

UK troops are currently assisting British citizens in Afghanistan to flee the country, following advice from the foreign office. 

However, defence secretary Ben Wallace told LBC on Monday that "some people won't get back".

"It’s a really deep part of regret for me … look, some people won’t get back. Some people won’t get back and we will have to do our best in third countries to process those people."

Videos shared on social media show people crowding to board US planes out of the country. 

US forces are currently working to secure airports to allow evacuation missions to continue.

Meanwhile, according to Wallace, UK troops are putting similar protocols in place to help UK citizens and those who wish to flee do so.

"We put in over 600 forces yesterday, today and over the weekend to make sure that we can keep a secure part of the airport functioning and, at the same time, to effectively process, manage and escort people on to our flights to get them out of Afghanistan," he said.