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Vietnam vs. Afghanistan: Mirror-image scenes from America's longest wars

Until Afghanistan, Vietnam was America's longest war. The images we're seeing now have a lot of parallels with that war — right down to the scenes of the chaotic, desperate final days.

Left: Members of the 1st Division Infantry look for Viet Cong fighters during the Vietnam War. Right: U.S. soldiers gather as their wounded comrades are airlifted by a Medevac helicopter in Afghanistan in 2011. Photos: (left) Corbis Historical via Getty Images; (right) Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
Left: Wounded U.S. soldiers are evacuated by helicopter after a Vietnam War battle in 1967. Right: U.S. Army soldiers protect an injured comrade from dust and smoke flares after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in 2012. Photos: (left) Francois Mazure/AFP via Getty Images; (right) Munir Uz Zaman/AFP via Getty Images
Left: Soldiers salute as remains of American GIs are carried to a plane in Hanoi. Right: A U.S. Army team carries the remains of a U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class who was killed in Afghanistan in 2019. Photos: (left) Steve Raymer/Corbis via Getty Images; (right) Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Left: A young Vietnamese boy arrested during an anti-government demonstration in Danang, South Vietnam, stares out from behind barbed wire. Right: Displaced Afghans look through a fence in August 2021. Photos: (left) Nik Wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images; (right) Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Left: Desperate South Vietnamese citizens try to scale the walls of the American Embassy in 1975. Right: Afghans rush to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee Kabul. Photos: (left) Nik Wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images; (right) Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Left: Long lines of people hurry to get exit visas and air tickets out of Vietnam. Right: Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport. Photos: (left) Bettmann via Getty Images; (right) AFP via Getty Images
Left: An American Marine points an M-16 rifle at a South Vietnamese person trying to climb over the wall at the American Embassy to join evacuation flights. Right: A U.S. soldier points his gun toward an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport. Photos: (left) Bettmann via Getty Images; (right) Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Image
Left: A CIA employee helps Vietnamese evacuees onto an Air America helicopter. Right: The U.S. national flag is reflected on the windows of the U.S. embassy building in Kabul. Photos: (left) Bettmann via Getty Images; (right) Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

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