Kabul, Afghanistan — With Taliban peace talks in tatters, Afghanistan is now bracing for the backlash. The militant group stepped up a vicious campaign of violence throughout the country — and that was during negotiations with the U.S. when peace was a possibility.
Afghan government officials have insisted Washington should have demanded a ceasefire before any promise of a U.S. troop draw-down.
"A complete withdrawal without any progress on the peace process or the negotiations and also with Taliban violating the commitments that they are making? That will have a serious negative impact," said Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's chief executive.
"It would be a very serious situation."
Afghanistan could once again become a safe haven for international terrorists, as it was in the late 90s when the Taliban supported al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The Taliban said the U.S. will have the most to lose from walking away now.
The collapse of the talks comes at a critical time. Presidential elections are to be held here in just a few weeks. They have been a Taliban target in the past and now there's not much of an incentive to hold anything back.