H.R. McMaster, a retired lieutenant general and President Trump’s former national security adviser, said the Trump administration is handing the Taliban a victory by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, calling the plan “abhorrent.”

McMaster told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the president has “paradoxically doubled down on all the flaws of the Obama administration approach to Afghanistan, by conjuring up the enemy we would prefer, instead of the actual enemy that we are facing.”

“If the Taliban establishes control of large parts of Afghanistan, gives safe haven and support base to terrorist organizations who want to commit mass murder against us on the scale of 9/11, we will be far less safe and vulnerable to these groups,” he said. “And I think what happened is the prioritization of withdrawal over our interests led to us actually empowering the Taliban.”

“If we were going to leave, just leave,” McMaster said, criticizing the telegraphing of plans. 

Mr. Trump fired former Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Twitter shortly after Election Day, replacing him with Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller. Soon after, defense officials announced the U.S. plans to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 in each country, a drawdown of about 2,000 in Afghanistan and 500 in Iraq, by January 15. 

“I mean, what does power-sharing with the Taliban look like? Does that mean every other girl school is bulldozed? Does that mean there are mass executions in the soccer stadium every other Saturday?” McMaster asked. “I think it’s abhorrent what we’re doing. And I hope that a Biden administration will reassess based, again, on what’s in it for us.”

McMaster also said the unfounded claims of mass election fraud from the president and his allies, sowing distrust in American institutions, are “simply playing into the hands of our adversaries.”

The former national security adviser said the country deserves better, particularly from the president. He also called the president’s firing of Christopher Krebs, the cybersecurity official whose agency called the 2020 election the most secure in history, a “travesty.”

McMaster, who left his role as national security adviser in 2018, said the Trump administration should instead be taking credit for the huge improvement to election security under its tenure. 

The former national security adviser also said Americans “should be thankful for the framers of our Constitution,” who set forward clear guidelines about the peaceful transfer of power.

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