HR McMaster says president’s policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is ‘unwise’

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H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s former national security adviser, called the president’s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan “unwise” in an interview scheduled to air Sunday.

The retired lieutenant general told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban and the plan to withdraw troops has made the U.S. less safe.

“Well I think what he did with this new policy is he in effect is partnering with the Taliban against, in many ways, the Afghan government,” McMaster told CBS’s Scott Pelley in a portion of the interview released by the network Thursday. 

“So I think that it’s an unwise policy, and I think what we require in Afghanistan is a sustained commitment to help the Afghan government and help the Afghan security forces to continue to bear the brunt of this fight,” he added. 

In his book “Battlegrounds,” McMaster writes that the president has “cheapened” the lives of U.S. troops who died in Afghanistan by giving in too much to the Taliban, “60 Minutes” reported. 

“Terrorist organizations who pose a threat to us are stronger now than they were on September 10, 2001. Those who perpetrated the mass murder attacks of 9/11 were the mujahideen-era alumni of the resistance to Soviet occupation in Afghanistan,” he told Pelley. 

“Today, we are facing an Al-Qaeda and an ISIS alumni that is orders of magnitude greater than that mujahideen-era alumni ever was. And they also have access to much more destructive capabilities,” he added.

The former national security adviser, who served from February 2017 to April 2018, asserted that the U.S. is weaker due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the associated economic impact from the virus and increased racial tensions, weaknesses that its opponents will exploit.

McMaster’s interview will air as part of the 53rd season premiere of “60 Minutes” on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. EDT and 7 p.m. PDT. 

The National Security Council did not immediately return a request for comment.

The U.S. agreed to a peace deal with the Taliban in February, but representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban have begun meeting this month for their own agreement. In the deal with the Taliban, the U.S. vowed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan within 14 months if the Taliban followed through on their end of the deal. 

McMaster has also denounced the administration when Trump declared troops would withdraw from northern Syria in November.

Tags 60 Minutes Afghanistan Donald Trump Taliban Taliban peace deal troop withdrawal

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