The diplomats of the United States and representative of the Taliban once again met in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday. The purpose of the meeting –the first Pakistan-sponsored one – was to find a negotiated settlement for the on-going war in Afghanistan that has claimed more than two hundred thousand lives both in Afghanistan and Pakistan so far, Costs of War Project claims. While officials of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE also attended the negotiations round; however, no one revealed the minutes of the discussions.

Pakistan can see the initiation of dialogue process its first diplomatic victory after a long time. Islamabad has shown through its action that it sincerely wishes peace for Kabul. Peace in Afghanistan is what both the neighbours want desperately. Though the meeting between the US and the Taliban is the third one, nothing that has come to surface so far suggests that the two warring sides have reached some real developments on power-sharing in Afghanistan. Continuation of more such meetings is necessary, as more such meeting will help to create a win-win situation for all the stakeholders; however, little information on the outcomes of these meetings reveals that there are wide gaps that no side is willing to bridge.

Furthermore, what does the absence of representatives of the Afghan government from the meeting tell? Does the absence of any member of the current Afghan government mean that the US has accepted the Taliban’s contention that they do not recognise the Afghan government as a legitimate one? If not, then the US needs to come up with a proper stance on the legitimacy of the Ghani’s government. Because America failing to take a stand on the legitimacy of the current or any future government will be the primary cause of civil war, were the US to leave Afghanistan after successful negotiations with the Taliban.