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Thursday, September 17, 2020

H.R. McMaster rebukes Trump over Taliban talks

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster is criticizing President Donald Trump for his administration’s negotiations with the Taliban.

In an interview segment with CBS' “60 Minutes” published on Thursday, McMaster said that moving to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan was an "unwise" policy. The retired Army lieutenant general was discussing his new book, “Battlegrounds,” in which he says Trump “cheapened” the lives of the Americans who died in Afghanistan by making too many concessions to the Taliban, "60 Minutes" reported.

McMaster said during his interview that Trump was “partnering with the Taliban” ahead of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. The Trump administration’s negotiations with the Taliban go “against, in many ways, the Afghan government,” McMaster said.

“What we require in Afghanistan is a sustained commitment to help the Afghan government,” he said on “60 Minutes.”

A spokesperson for the National Security Council did not immediately offer comment on Thursday evening.

The U.S. signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in February, hoping for the Afghan government to soon follow suit. Under the agreement, the U.S. would withdraw all its troops within 14 months of the signing if the Taliban honored its commitments.

Representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban started meeting this month in Doha to discuss their own peace agreement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Doha this month for the opening of the talks.

McMaster served as Trump’s second national security adviser, from February 2017 to April 2018. Since then, he has voiced criticism of some of his former peers. He criticized the Trump administration in November for moving to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, saying the move would destabilize the region and offer opportunities for Russia to gain greater control in the area.

In May 2019, McMaster said some of his former White House colleagues were a “danger to the Constitution” and were “there to try to manipulate the situation based on their own agenda, not the president’s agenda.”

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