That’s right. The Vice-President of the United States, initially added to the Obama campaign to add foreign policy gravitas to the ticket, has come out and questioned whether the Taliban are our enemy.
Let’s get right to the context, which the media will inevitably hype in an effort to conflate an amazing gaffe with straight-talkin’, straight-shooting’ foreign policy from the VP.
Biden was answering questions from Les Gelb for a Newsweek interview, the full text of which you can read here. The subject matter of the interview ranged considerably across the foreign policy spectrum from Afghanistan to Iran and China.
But it was on Afghanistan that the Vice President uttered the particularly shocking line about the Taliban. Biden was apparently addressing the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, which could mean a brokered peace with the Taliban. Specifically, he said:
“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.”