In interview with Newsweek/Daily Beast, Vice President Biden asserted that “the Taliban per se is not our enemy.”
The ongoing reconciliation process has long included bringing in forces who have taken up arms against the U.S. and against the Afghan government, but Biden might face criticism for stating that as an organization the Taliban is not the enemy of the U.S., when its leadership and members have devoted so much time, resources and energy towards killing American soldiers.
Republicans are already circulating the quote, noting that U.S. forces are still killing, and being killed by, Taliban fighters, trying to figure out how to use the quote given the reality that any peace in Afghanistan will by necessity likely need to include a brokered peace with Taliban forces.
The interview was conducted by Les Gelb, with whom Biden authored the so-called “soft partition” plan to divide Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions: Sunni, Shi’a and Kurd.
In the wide-ranging interview, Biden talks about how Pakistan was able to live with a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, which the U.S. would have been able to do had the Taliban stopped harboring al Qaeda. He asserts that the U.S. could have lived with the Taliban too, if that government had turned over al-Qaeda members.
Then the VP then turned to the reconciliation process, saying, “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 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.”
You can read the whole interview HERE.