Taliban is not the US` enemy: Biden

"There is not a single statement that the (US) President has ever made that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens US interests, Biden.

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2011, 08:37 AM IST

Washington: The United States has said that
Taliban is not an enemy of America, a move seen as the latest
effort of the Obama Administration to send an olive branch to
the terrorist outfit that ruled Afghanistan before 9/11.

"Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That`s
critical," US Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview to
the Newsweek magazine.

"There is not a single statement that the (US) President
has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban
is our enemy because it threatens US interests," he said.

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. So there`s a dual track here, Biden added.

"One, continue to keep the pressure on alQaeda and
continue to diminish them. Two, put the government in a
position where they can be strong enough that they can
negotiate with and not be overthrown by the Taliban," he said.

"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 Qaeda or any other
organization that they would harbor to do damage to us and our
allies," Biden said.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, supporting
Biden`s statement, said the Vice President does not regret
having said this.

"We didn`t invade Afghanistan. We did not send US
military personnel into Afghanistan because the Taliban were
in power. They had been in power. We went into Afghanistan
because alQaeda had launched an attack against the US from
Afghanistan," he said.

PTI