(THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE ): The announcement by President Trump to withdraw from the peace talks being held with the Taliban leadership when an agreement between them was so close was surprising. The decision was apparently taken by the President to express his resentment of the recent Taliban attack in which one American soldier and 10 Afghans were killed. It was though primarily meant to put pressure on the Taliban to show greater flexibility in engaging with the Afghan government and other major groups in the country. There was also serious opposition within the United States against the President’s hasty withdrawal and that he was conceding too much to the Taliban. Apparently, President Trump had the 2020 elections in mind where he could claim that he extricated the United States from an unending and useless war. The Taliban leadership had also become arrogant and unwilling to engage with the Afghan government seriously. Furthermore, it was essentially not a peace agreement but an agreement between the United States and the Taliban leadership. There were other factors for the breakdown of talks. The Taliban shura too had opposed the assembly of the Taliban leadership at Camp David before an agreement was signed, as it would have given an impression of subservience to the United States. Mullah Barader had taken this decision but had to retract it when it was opposed by his senior colleagues. Sooner or later, the talks should resume otherwise the civil war would intensify. Meanwhile, the United States has stepped up it’s bombing on Taliban hideouts with greater ferocity and the Taliban are reciprocating by increasing their attacks on Afghan army and government installations. This is a dangerous trend that could create fissures in Afghan society and forestall the prospects of peace. The warlords are waiting in the wings and will exploit the anarchy to spread their influence. And Ashraf Ghani’s influence will further diminish in the developing scenario.