One would have wished that the Americans had listened to the counsel of those who had an understanding of the strength of Talibans commitment to driving the foreign forces out of Afghanistan and regain their independence, and not wasted time and effort in trying to strike a peace deal with the foot soldiers and middle-ranking Taliban leaders, but approached their genuine leadership. But their stubbornness in refusing to engage those leaders in negotiations, whose decisions alone would have been acceptable to the Taliban fighters, caused the loss of not only many an innocent Afghans, but also of the US and other foreign troops, not to mention the human suffering all had to bear. Ultimately, Deputy Afghan Foreign Minister Jawid Lodin had to concede that lower level contacts with the Taliban did not end the violence in Afghanistan. Mr Lodin did that at a news conference, along with Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman, who had assembled at Kabul on Tuesday for a two-day meeting of the trilateral core group constituted to find a way to bring an end to foreign occupation of Afghanistan that makes for peace and harmony in the country. As a result, the group decided to contact top Taliban leaders to realise Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation, terming such an arrangement of common interest to the three countries. Pakistan, it must be recalled, was the first to call for such contacts if result-oriented, lasting settlement was to be achieved. However, blinded by its military might, the US for a long while insisted on reaching a solution through the use of force, and when experienced setbacks after setbacks conceded only to talk to what Mr Lodin called foot soldiers and failing again it came round to contacting the top leaders of the Taliban hierarchy. Strangely, in this exercise for a 'safe exit, the Obama administration has failed to appreciate the key input Pakistan is making in the war on terror and has been working against its interests. And the pleas of their own man on the spot, Ambassador Munter, for stopping drone attacks have been turned down by the CIA, which apparently had the power to overrule any suggestion in this matter. In the final analysis, the groundswell of anti-Americanism existing in the country gets reinforced. While on the one hand, it wants to pursue a policy of reconciliation, on the other it persists in indulging in acts that provoke tribesmens sympathy for the Afghan resistance and provides new recruits to its cause. The dual-track policy is counterproductive. In the meantime, before crying foul at the imposition of restrictions on the movement of its diplomats for their own safety, the US must not forget the indignities to which Pakistans visiting high dignitaries holding diplomatic passports have been subjected to at the airports and shadowed while in the country. Islamabad is within its right to impose such restrictions as are deemed necessary in its national interests.