Trump was ‘absolutely wrong’ to negotiate with Taliban: McMaster

The Trump administration has been “absolutely wrong” in its negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, former US national security adviser HR McMaster said Monday night.

Appearing on CNN International’s Amanpour show, McMaster was asked by host Christiane Amanpour about the White House’s talks with the Taliban as the administration works towards a complete troop withdrawal by April next year.

She asked whether McMaster believes “to fulfill a promise to pull all American forces from overseas that cozying up to the Taliban is a national security sensible thing for the United States to do right now.”

“I think that the Trump administration policy has been absolutely wrong since the negotiations began with the Taliban,” McMaster replied.

“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.”

There is a tendency, he said, 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.”

McMaster said what worries him is what “power-sharing with the Taliban” looks 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,” saying simply “just don’t plot against the United States,” he said.

He said there are brave Afghans fighting daily to preserve the freedoms that they have achieved since the end of the Taliban regime in 2001, implying Trump’s policy was going against everything the Afghan nation has been fighting for.

“About 30 Afghan soldiers and police give their lives every day” to protect the Afghan population against “these terrorists who commit mass murder of innocent people as their principle tactic in a war against all humanity.”

He said the Trump administration’s policy towards the Taliban “is a disaster” and “it’s something I hope can be reversed.”