McMaster on Afghanistan violence: 'We are going to see horrible image after horrible image'

H.R. McMaster, the retired Army general and former national security adviser in the Trump administration, tells Yahoo News Editor in Chief Daniel Klaidman and Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff that the attacks seen today in Kabul are "just the beginning" of violence and that he believes there will be a "steady drumbeat of horrors inflicted on the Afghan people" if the U.S. does not intervene

Video transcript

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Be specific. How would you-- if you had your previous job as national security advisor-- advise the president right now to respond to an attack like this? Do we have more bombings, bombings where? Do we send more troops? What specifically would you recommend?

HR MCMASTER: Well, you have to present a range of options. And then of course, when you do that, they have to be oriented on a specific objective. What's the objective, right? This is just beginning, guys.

And the question is, what is the mission, right? What is your conception of the threat to Americans and international security broadly and to Afghans? And do you give a damn about it? Are you going to do anything about it?

I mean, we are going to see horrible image after horrible image. The last time the Taliban was in control, there were no cell phones in Afghanistan between '96 and 2001. Now everybody has one. And we're just going to confront the steady drumbeat of horrors inflicted on the Afghan people.

What are we going to do about it? Are we going to give a damn? Or will this be like Rwanda, we'll just say, oh, later, we can write a right to protect doctrine. If you're Samantha Power, who's in the administration now, I wonder how she feels about this humanitarian crisis, which we set the conditions for.

So I would just tell you, it depends on the mission. And of course, it depends on the level of risk and cost you're willing to accept to accomplish that mission.