The Trump administration has been “absolutely wrong” in its negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, said former national security adviser H.R. McMaster during an interview with CNN International’s Amanpour on Monday.
McMaster was asked by host Christiane Amanpour whether he believed that President Donald Trump’s administration will “fulfil a promise to pull all American forces” from Afghanistan and whether McMaster believed that “cosying up to the Taliban is a national security sensible thing” for the U.S.
“I think that the Trump administration policy has been absolutely wrong since the negotiations began with the Taliban,” McMaster replied and called the power-sharing strategy with the militants a “disaster.”
“What I think is paradoxical about this, regrettable about it, is the Trump administration has replicated almost precisely the fundamental flaws in the Obama administration approach to Afghanistan,” he said, “and that is this flawed assumption, this belief, that there’s this bold line between the Taliban and Al Qaeda.”
He pointed that the administration and the president displayed a tendency toward “strategic narcissism — defining the world as we would like it to be and then assuming what we do is decisive to the outcome, and in this case, creating the enemy we would prefer.”
He questioned what a power-sharing approach with the Taliban would look like.
“Is that mass executions in the soccer stadium every other Saturday? Is that every other girls’ school bulldozed?” he said. “So I’m very concerned that this negotiation process made too many concessions.”
“Forcing the Afghan government to release 5,000 of the most heinous people on earth who could form the backbone of a rejuvenated terrorist infrastructure as well as cutting a deal by saying simply “just don’t plot against the U.S.”,” McMaster said will not work.
He said the Trump administration’s policy towards the Taliban “is a disaster” and “it is something I hope can be reversed.”
McMaster has also previously issued such warnings about Trump’s shortfalls in negotiating with the Taliban and bringing the troops home, leaving the country even more vulnerable to a 9/11 type attack.