It was inevitable for the US and the Taliban to come to the table, now matter how much Washington tried to make an issue of not recognizing the new government in Kabul, because the simple, straight-forward fact of the matter is that the Americans are primarily responsible for the giant mess that the country has become and cannot just walk away from it. In this case they have tried to do much worse so far by holding back the country’s aid in addition to freezing its central bank’s money abroad. These are clearly intimidatory tactics, meant for nothing more than a little face-saving in front of the international community where its clumsy departure from the war has become the butt of all jokes. And now that the Islamic State (IS) threat is growing and the Taliban are struggling to keep a lid on things because they have no money to run the country, the Americans are slowly returning to the negotiating table. That is why the Taliban were very blunt in their first face-to-face engagement with American representatives since the pullout and warned Washington against trying to destabilise Afghanistan. The new government in Kabul is justified in approaching these talks from what it considers a position of strength; having humbled the superpower. And it was already expected that the talks wouldn’t get off to the ideal start, considering that the two sides spent the last two decades trying to finish the other off. Still, the very fact that these negotiations are taking place is a very good sign. It’s also very helpful that the Americans are going to lend a hand with the vaccination process in Afghanistan, so humanitarian cooperation can at least begin.