Former US national security adviser H.R. McMaster has said that the war in Afghanistan “ended in self-defeat” as the United States is preparing to leave the country after implementing a policy of death and destruction there for twenty years.
In an interview on NBC News on Sunday, McMaster, who served under the Trump administration from February 2017 to April 2018, acknowledged that “we all share responsibility” for what he described as a “one-year war fought 20 times over,” adding that the decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan was a costly one.
“And, of course, what's sad about it is this war ended in self-defeat, Chuck. I mean, we had a sustainable effort in place several years ago that if we had sustained it, we could have prevented what's happening now,” McMaster told NBC host Chuck Todd. “Instead, what we did, Chuck, is actually we surrendered to a jihadist organization and assumed that there would be no consequences for that. And we're seeing the consequences today.”
In an earlier interview, McMaster said that the rapid Taliban takeover of Afghanistan happened because former President Donald Trump made a “capitulation agreement with Taliban.”
He said the fall of the Afghan government “should not have come as a surprise” to the Biden administration.
The retired US Army general said that the past two administrations delivered “psychological blows to the Afghans” by “telling them that we're going to withdrawal, making concession after concession with the Taliban, not even allowing the Afghan government to participate in what became our capitulation agreement with the Taliban.”
The Taliban are poised to run Afghanistan again 20 years after they were removed from power by American forces following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and removed the Taliban from power. American forces occupied the country for about two decades on the pretext of fighting against the Taliban. But as the US forces left Afghanistan, the Taliban stormed into Kabul, weakened by continued foreign occupation.
Daesh struck the Kabul airport on Thursday, killing at least 180 people, mostly Afghan civilians and about a dozen US troops. The terrorist group claimed the responsibility for the attack.
Graham: 'The chance of another 9/11 just went through the roof'
Meanwhile, hawkish Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday said the chances of more terrorist attacks like the ones on September 11, 2001 “just went through the roof” because of the US retreat from Afghanistan.
Graham said during an interview with CBS News that a “parade of horribles is about to unfold” in Afghanistan.
“We're leaving thousands of Afghan allies behind who fought bravely with us. We're gonna leave hundreds of American citizens behind. The chance of another 9/11 just went through the roof. These drone attacks will not degrade ISIS. The number of ISIS fighters have doubled. We've turned our back on our allies ... and we set the conditions for another 9/11,” Graham said, referring to the Daesh terrorist group by an acronym known in the West.
“I've never been more worried about an attack on our homeland than I am right now,” he added.
Graham also denounced US President Joe Biden’s argument that the United States is ending the war in Afghanistan by withdrawing troops. The senator from South Carolina argued that Afghanistan is entering a new “deadly chapter.”
“We did not end this war. President Biden said that he wanted to take Afghanistan off the plate for future presidents. He's turned the exact opposite. For the next 20 years, American presidents would be dealing with this catastrophe and Afghanistan. This war has not ended. We've entered into a new deadly chapter. Terrorists are now in charge of Afghanistan," he said.
Graham told the broadcaster that Biden should face “a lot of consequences,” including impeachment, and remove from the office.