Petraeus says he worries what Taliban would do if US withdraws Afghanistan troops

Retired Gen. David Petraeus said he has “serious doubts” about what the Taliban would do if the United States were to remove all troops from Afghanistan, warning the region could fall into another civil war.

“I have serious doubts about what the Taliban would do were we to leave the country and how that country would then be run and would it devolve into another civil war,” Petraeus told Hill.TV during an interview on Tuesday.

Petraeus pointed to the collapse of the Soviet-supported Afghan government in the late 1980s as an example.

“That was a horrific period for Afghanistan,” he told Hill.TV. “Kabul was almost destroyed during that period and I think you could see that kind of a return to that kind of fighting between not just these different insurgents and terrorists groups but also some of the other groups that were controlled and still are in many respects.”

A U.S. service member was killed in action Monday in Afghanistan, according to a NATO-lead mission in the country. This marked the 17th American combat death in the country this year and comes as President Trump earlier this month announced a decision to cancel peace talks with the Taliban and Afghan government.

Trump declared that peace talks were “dead” after the Taliban claimed responsibility for another attack that had killed 12 people, including a U.S. soldier. The president also revealed that he canceled a planned meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David.

Ongoing negotiating efforts come as Trump looks to reach a peace deal that would end the 18-year war between the U.S. and Afghanistan before the 2020 election. There are an estimated 14,000 U.S. troops still stationed in the country.

— Tess Bonn

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