It is critical to have all stakeholders involved in the negotiation. If that doesn’t happen it’s all too easy for the party that is excluded to disrupt the deal or try to bring it down.

In the case of Hamid Karzai’s Government in Afghanistan, they no doubt feels very threatened by the fact that talks between the US and Taliban representatives have taken place without its involvement. You can understand how they might fantasise negatively about the possible outcome of talks on the future of the country from which they had been excluded. What reason could there be for them to be left out unless their interests were deemed somewhat inconvenient and immaterial to the final outcome?

The US has to support the Karzai government as “legitimate” as this itself gives the US a legitimate reason to be in Afghanistan – at the behest of its official government. If the US professes to support the Karzai regime then it has to involve them in any peace process. If they can’t be present because the mood is too tense or sensitive then they must be kept involved on a fully transparent and equal basis. If the US doesn’t trust or respect them sufficiently to do that, then it must expect Karzai’s Government to adopt the state of mind of a “loser” which believes it cannot win, and accordingly seeks to de-rail the possibility of a deal happening.