Biden says Taliban isn’t US enemyDecember 20th, 2011 - 11:37 am ICT by IANS
Washington, Dec 20 (IANS) A comment by US Vice President Joe Biden that “the Taliban per se is not our enemy” has given the Republicans a new handle, but the White House is standing by him.
In an interview with Newsweek/Daily Beast, Biden talked about how Pakistan was able to live with a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, which the US would have been able to do had the Taliban stopped harbouring Al Qaeda.
Turning to the reconciliation process, he said: “We are in a position where if Afghanistan ceased and desisted from being a haven for people who do damage and have as a target the United States of America and their allies, that’s good enough. That’s good enough. We’re not there yet. Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy.
“That’s critical. 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 US 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.”
The White House Monday defended Biden saying “It’s only regrettable when taken out of context.”
“It is a simple fact that we went into Afghanistan because of the attack on the United States on Sep 11, 2001. We are there now to ultimately defeat Al Qaeda, to stabilize Afghanistan and stabilise it in part so that Al Qaeda or other terrorists who have as their aim attacks on the United States cannot establish a foothold again in that country,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Carney said the US did not send the military into Afghanistan because the Taliban were in power, and the vice president’s point was that “while we are fighting them, it is not the elimination-the elimination of the Taliban is not the issue here.”
But Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Biden’s remarks-as well as Biden’s and President Barack Obama’s belief that the Taliban are not the enemy-are “bizarre, factually wrong and an outrageous affront our troops carrying out the fight in Afghanistan.”
He said the comments also reflect the administration’s policy of “appeasement.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: al qaeda, allies, assertions, bad guys, barack obama, carney, foothold, harbouring, joe biden, mitt romney, newsweek, president joe, reconciliation, republican presidential candidate, sep 11 2001, simple fact, states of america, taliban, target, white house spokesman