U.S. Army General HR McMaster (Ret.), who served as national security adviser for the Trump administration, has condemned former President Donald Trump for “surrendering” to the Taliban in a deal struck in 2020, ensuring a self-defeat in Afghanistan.
“Our secretary of state [Mike Pompeo] signed a surrender agreement with the Taliban,” McMaster said on Bari Weiss’ podcast Honestly.
“This collapse goes back to the capitulation agreement of 2020. The Taliban didn’t defeat us. We defeated ourselves.”
While McMaster blames Trump for emboldening the Taliban, he also coricized the Biden administrations for their handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The retired US Army lieutenant general is one of many former senior Trump officials who have sought to distance themselves from the Taliban peace deal that was signed in February 2020, as chaos gripped the capital Kabul over the past week.
Originally, the Trump administration agreed to withdraw from the country by 1 May.
When Joe Biden was elected President, he said he had to follow through with the agreement or risk new conflicts with the Taliban, which might have required an additional troop surge into Afghanistan.
However, by pushing back the withdrawal date to 31 August, the president showed there was some room for maneuver under the terms of the agreement.
Biden has blamed the Trump administration for the chaos that ensued this week saying that his predecessor had emboldened the Taliban and left the group “in the strongest position militarily since 2001”.
The president has said that he would ultimately have withdrawn all troops from Afghanistan even if no deal had already been struck with the Taliban. Biden said that he saw no way to complete a withdrawal “without chaos ensuing”.
Meanwhile, Pompeo, who met with Taliban officials in person at the signing ceremony of the agreement in Doha in September 2020 while secretary of state, told Fox News the administration never trusted the group and does not believe the negotiations legitimized them.