Vice President Joe Biden said today that the Taliban is not an enemy of the United States -- in what some have characterized as the latest in a long string of VP gaffes.
“The Taliban, per se, is not our enemy,” Biden told Newsweek
, for an article published today. “There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests.
“If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.”
But President Barack Obama has said that the Taliban was complicit in protecting Osama bin Laden while the United States spent most of the past 10 years looking for him, according to his May 2 statement posted on the White House website.
“We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al-Qaida safe haven and support," the president said in his address to the nation following the killing of the al-Qaida leader.
“And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al-Qaida terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot,” the president added.
Biden went on to tell Newsweek that the United States should continue to put pressure on al-Qaida to diminish its presence, while helping Afghanistan’s government reach a position to negotiate with the Taliban — but not be overthrown by it.
“And at the same time, try to get the Taliban to move in the direction to see to it that they, through reconciliation, commit not to be engaged with al-Qaida or any other organization that they would harbor to do damage to us and our allies,” Biden said.
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