McMaster: Trump Plan to Withdraw from Afghanistan ‘Abhorrent’

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday broadcast of CBS’s “Face the Nation” called Trump’s plan to withdraw from Afghanistan is “abhorrent.”

Partial transcript as follows:

MARGARET BRENNAN: Afghanistan. I know you feel strongly about the conflict there and our troops who continue to serve. This week, President Trump halved the number of U.S. troop presence from 4,500 down to 2,500 by mid-January, even though violence is spiking, even though the Taliban has not cut ties with al-Qaeda. Is the president handing the Taliban a victory on the way out the door?

MCMASTER: Yes, MARGARET. In fact, what I think President Trump has done is paradoxically doubled down on all the flaws of the Obama administration approach to Afghanistan by conjuring up the enemy we would prefer, instead of the actual enemy that we are facing in Afghanistan. An enemy that- that- who- if they win, if the Taliban establishes control of large parts of- of Afghanistan, give safe haven and support base to terrorist organizations who want to commit mass murder against us on the scale of 9/11, we will be far less safe and- and vulnerable to these groups. And I think what happened is the prioritization of withdrawal over our interests led to us actually empowering the Taliban. I mean, if we were going to leave, just leave, but don’t force the Afghan government to release 5,000 of the most heinous people on Earth. Don’t- don’t- don’t make this assumption that there is this bold line between the Taliban and these other terrorist organizations. Hey, we saw today with these rocket attacks in Kabul and- and the images of- of hundreds of young girls fleeing these- these rocket attacks. We saw it with, you know, an attack on a maternity hospital where they gunned down pregnant mothers and- and killed infants. We saw on the attack of- on the American University in- in Afghanistan. I mean, what does power sharing with the Taliban look like? Does that mean every other girl school is bulldozed? Does that mean there are mass executions in the soccer stadium every other Saturday? I think it’s- it’s abhorrent what we’re doing. And- and I hope that- that a Biden administration will reassess based again on what’s–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

MCMASTER: –in it for us. I mean, MARGARET–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well–

MCMASTER: –this is not a theoretical case, right? We know what happened on 9/11.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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