‘It’s a failure across multiple administrations,’ former National Security Advisor says of Afghanistan withdrawal

U.S.

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster called the rapid collapse of the Afghan government a “failure across multiple [American] administrations.”

“We keep talking about our desire to end endless wars, but what if it’s an endless Jihad that these terrorists are waging against us?” McMaster said on The Donlon Report. “That means that we have to remain engaged against these enemies of all civilized people.”

McMaster served as Donald Trump’s national security advisor from February 2017 until April 2018. He said he presented Trump with options for pulling back the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, including a withdrawal similar to the one happening now. He was happy the then-president chose to maintain a troop presence there, and was dismayed when he began negotiating with the Taliban in 2019.

“And then the Biden administration doubled down on that flawed approach to the war,” McMaster said.

Monday, Biden said he stood “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw American forces and acknowledged the “gut-wrenching” images unfolding in Kabul. Biden said he faced a choice between honoring a previously negotiated withdrawal agreement or sending thousands more troops back to begin a third decade of war.

“After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said in a televised address from the White House.

The president said American troops should not be fighting and dying in a war “that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.” He warned the Taliban not to interfere with the evacuation efforts.

McMaster said the U.S.’s announced withdrawal likely depleted the morale of the Afghan soldiers and boosted the Taliban’s spirit. He called the chances Afghanistan would not become a terrorist haven “about zero.”

He believes some of the humanitarian disaster can be blunted with the military’s help.

“You need safe zones so that you can help those who are fleeing these murderers of the Taliban,” he said. “You need safe corridors, and then you need means of evacuation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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