Taliban per se not our enemy: Joe Biden

Published: December 21, 2011
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'The president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens US interests' said Biden. PHOTO: AFP

'The president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens US interests' said Biden. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: US Vice President Joe Biden, speaking this week with Newsweek, said the Taliban “per se is not our enemy”.

Biden suggested the Taliban only represented an inherent threat if it allowed al Qaeda to strike against the US. “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,” he said.

Even after a surge in US troops in Afghanistan has pushed Taliban militants out of much of their southern stronghold, the group’s intentions regarding peace talks remain unclear.

A senior Taliban commander, speaking after US officials’ description of the peace process was published on Sunday, denied the movement was engaged in talks with the US.

“Our position on talks remains the same. All occupying forces have to leave Afghanistan. Then we can talk,” the commander told Reuters from an undisclosed location.

The Taliban might be denying taking part in initial discussions to shore up morale among fighters on the ground.

Meanwhile, a key Republican US senator warned against negotiating with the Taliban, illustrating the risk the Obama administration is taking by considering a prisoner transfer as part of a bid to end the Afghan war. US officials told Reuters a transfer of Taliban prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay could be one confidence-building measure.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (69)

  • Roflcopter
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:13AM

    hahahahaha this a joke right? so why have they been fighting Taliban? and in the process are also responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

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  • Dec 21, 2011 - 1:15AM

    Well I guess all those canards about Pakistan ‘running with the hares and hunting with the hounds’ stand debunked …

    Time for the Pakistani ‘liberals’ and our Indian visitors to start screeching at the US for once, instead of constantly berating Pakistan’s military and intelligence service.

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  • Saad
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:16AM

    so Mr. Biden, would you mind telling us what the whole war against Taliban thing is about then?

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  • No BS
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:21AM

    Mr Biden you had the whole world fooled, but happy to hear that you are willing to reach out

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:23AM

    hahahahhahaah after ten years enemy is friend and friend…………………………

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  • Aamer Khawaja
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:26AM

    Say what??

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  • Air Bus101
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:38AM

    U turn hoo tou Aisa!!!

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  • Such
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:44AM

    Truth Can’t Be Hidden, thats what Pak is saying

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  • ParvezM
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:49AM

    ET you have been holding back this item, TOI had this out yesterday and Bhartis are crying their heart out at that site.
    I’m waiting for the reaction of that crowed on this site!!!

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  • Zafar
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:56AM

    If you can’t defeat your enemy in a decade, make it your friend.

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  • Falcon
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:58AM

    It seems that they are setting the pretext for moving into the next phase of negotiations with Taliban.

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  • Yasireds
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:03AM

    now friends?

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  • Ali
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:08AM

    I hope Musharraf and other pro-war pakistanis read this and LEARN how the biggest superpower of the modern World deals with an enemy it has been fighting for over a decade!
    This is how goals are achieved and not by fighting a war that kills over 34000 of your people!
    We joined this war with the fear of a conflict with Mighty USA and now the Mighty USA is tactfully escaping from this war leaving us in a mess!
    Imran Khan… You better end this war please! We trust u with it!

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  • Grace
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:10AM

    What a confused world we live in. The Taleban are no friend of Pakistan that’s for sure. Perhaps, Biden remembers that the West had a big hand in creating the elements that became the Taleban when they used these people to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan. They like to dump them on Pakistan whereas in reality the region was abandoned by the West after the Soviets were ousted and the world left Pakistan to clean up the mess. The US now understands they have to deal with all players in the region but imagine the flak if such a statement had come from Pakistan.

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  • CK
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:10AM

    But you are their enemy now so good luck!

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  • Javed Afridi
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:18AM

    During a seminar at Arizona States University, USA, participants; both students and the think tanks around, were shocked when I said that the only solution to war in Afghanistan was an unconditional apology of the US and it’s allies to the people of Afghanistan, especially Taliban, who were punished for no crime. US is coming to it sooner than I had anticipated.
    Good news: Pashtuns are extremely generous in forgiving it’s worst enemy, when the enemy concedes defeat and apologies :)

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  • Patriotic
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:18AM

    now i really don’t know if Rebecca Black and Justin Bieber remain on my list of the top 3 most idiotic people. This guys deserves all the spots! :P

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  • Dec 21, 2011 - 2:19AM

    Same like Iraqi were not American Enemies… they left over 1.5 Million civilian + 15000 military death.Just imagine If they were real enemies :)

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  • MarkH
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:25AM

    @Roflcopter:
    oh I don’t know, how about not skipping things out of convenience? The US isn’t Pakistan. They don’t bend over and take it when people try to kill them and be counter productive to their goals. You never do say much of anything intelligent. I usually ignore you but this one was just way too easy.

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  • Syed Kashmiri
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:37AM

    If Taliban and US are not enemies of one another, why is Pakistan invollving itself on US side ? Joe Biden’s statement is a clear indication that Karzai will be cut loose and Taliban will be free to fight the current regime which will be without American support. The mighty US has learned the lessons that technology or hubirs is not going to help it in Afghanistan. Now is the time for Pakistan to play her cards wiselly in Afghanistan.Americans will be gone soon but Taliban will be there for along time.

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  • Nahi Maanta
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:39AM

    Shall not the American people rise and occupy the Pentagon and White House?

    If not now, when? Recommend

  • David Salmon
    Dec 21, 2011 - 3:04AM

    We are fighting the Taliban because (1) they sheltered and still support al Qaeda, which launched attacks on us killing 3,000 people; (2) they continue to make terrorist attacks on our forces, NATO forces, the Afghan government, and thousands of innocent Afghan and Pakistani people; (3) they demolish culture and education; (4) they enslave women; and (5) they refuse to stop any of these activities. Under the circumstances, we must and should fight them. We will stop when they stop and agree to stay stopped.

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  • hu jintao
    Dec 21, 2011 - 3:12AM

    Bharatis like cautious got to say anything now?

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  • sarmad
    Dec 21, 2011 - 3:14AM

    uh oh ! Where thy indian trolls be ? :O

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  • G.Haider
    Dec 21, 2011 - 3:15AM

    It took decade,thousands innocent lives,around US$3 trillion to know that Taliban is not enemy of US.What a joke by the lone super power of the world? Sane voices of the world need to unite to harness the bull by horns.

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  • Amir
    Dec 21, 2011 - 3:27AM

    Why the helll have you been yelling on Pakistan to act against haqqani network. Yesterday they were threat to your security. Today they are NOT.
    Tomorrow you will acknowledge you were defeated.

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  • Dec 21, 2011 - 3:41AM

    wow…….amazing

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  • Brent
    Dec 21, 2011 - 4:04AM

    Yeah, and the Japanese were our friends in WWII, that whole Pearl Harbor thing was a mistake. The Japanese thought they were bombing China. How this man ever got elected to ANY office is beyond me.

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  • Imran
    Dec 21, 2011 - 4:06AM

    Certainly has to be the Joke of the year2012 ..

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  • Nomi
    Dec 21, 2011 - 4:16AM

    Another Taliban Khan

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  • Syed
    Dec 21, 2011 - 4:32AM

    Oh I dont see MARKH, Beatle, MIRZA, Ikramuddin, FactCheck, Bangash and others to comment on this one?

    Had this been said by Pakistan Army – all the above mentioned would have gone wild :)Recommend

  • Basit
    Dec 21, 2011 - 4:39AM

    Pro-America Pakistani liberals are now thrown into a state of deep confusion.

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  • faraz
    Dec 21, 2011 - 4:51AM

    What an early realization

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  • M omar
    Dec 21, 2011 - 5:02AM

    If blowing up american soldiers by taliban suicide bomber is friendship act then yes . .

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  • ParvezM
    Dec 21, 2011 - 5:12AM

    Who is the new enemy Joe?

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  • delhi_se
    Dec 21, 2011 - 5:23AM

    Although USA will not commit, but this is their far more disgracing defeat then Vietnam. What do you expect when you interfere in an uninvited territory ? Congratulations to Afghan people soon you will see the foreign boots off your land.

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  • Adil
    Dec 21, 2011 - 5:58AM

    “Taliban is not an enemy of America”……well,what should I say? But United States is not a friend of anyone.

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 21, 2011 - 6:03AM

    The Bharatis must be in shock now

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  • vasan
    Dec 21, 2011 - 6:06AM

    I think many commentators are confused. US declared AQ and OBL as the enemy and went to war against them. The taliban came on the firing line because they did not want to handover OBL & AQ and protected them. Once OBL is taken out, AQ is weakened, US is not concerned with Taliban at all because the Talibans oppose US only because US is in Afganistan. What is the problem with Biden’s stmt ??

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  • Sameer
    Dec 21, 2011 - 6:09AM

    Indian trolls are hitting their head against the wall. MarkH, cautious,FAraz, RS JOhar and other Pakistani so-called liberals, we wish to see your comments here.

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  • ParvezM
    Dec 21, 2011 - 7:03AM

    If you want to see Bharati reaction go to Times of India site. It is really fun read. Half of them have gone mad.

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  • Dec 21, 2011 - 7:24AM

    If this is not high class hypocrisy, then what is it? Ten years of killing, propaganda, money wasted and now you say Taliban is not your enemy. Dont fool us. You should have realized this when we were telling you all along. Salams to PakistanRecommend

  • Raj - USA
    Dec 21, 2011 - 7:44AM

    @Syed:
    My previous response was to show the falsehood of claims on both instances.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Dec 21, 2011 - 7:57AM

    Forget the Bharati trolls, weren’t the Taliban responsible for killing thousands of Pakistani civilians and servicemen? Who is the new enemy ? Recommend

  • AsliShalsi
    Dec 21, 2011 - 8:13AM

    Nothing surprising there, if Taliban are not enemies of the US than why Pakistan should declare Afghan Taliban as her enemies???
    Another superpower broke down in front of Afghans, history sure repeats itself when you dont learn from it. Recommend

  • 3footninja
    Dec 21, 2011 - 8:31AM

    Joe Biden is pro-taliban. They should call him Joe Talibiden.

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  • Saad Khan
    Dec 21, 2011 - 8:55AM

    must be april fools, even though its not april, strange americans.

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  • rk
    Dec 21, 2011 - 8:58AM

    confusing. maybe USA and Taliban are ganging up on Pakistan?

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  • Hameed ur rehman SuROOR
    Dec 21, 2011 - 9:15AM

    word with no meanings

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  • Afghan
    Dec 21, 2011 - 9:50AM

    Too late, Mr. Biden…too late to finally realize that. For the past decade the Americans kept sticking to their rhetoric that they are not gonna negotiate with the TERRORISTS….and now all of a sudden the terrorists turned out to be ‘not-their-enemy’.

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  • Ghaznavi
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:23AM

    No they are not enemies but actually Talibans are a new variety of very cuddly teddy bears. American kids would love to own one ;-)

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  • Ejaz Staknikzai
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:18AM

    Now the bad days of Pakistan is to begin. I wonder how Pakistan will survive without monetary aid of USA and westRecommend

  • Cynic
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:29AM

    I am gobsmacked..flabbergasted..and speechless!!

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  • neo
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:45AM

    well guys , ‘po-let-ticks’ is the name of the game. There is no enemy and for that sake, no firends in politcs. Things change overtime. So, yerterdays enemey is todays friend. yuppie.
    We may be the next target. Enjoy the US drop scene.

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  • Shia Pakistani
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:59AM

    Wow! I am just stunned now. If I was a Taliban commander, i would be the most happiest person alive.
    No matter what is your perspective – the truth is, Taliban has not only survived American onslaught but has also become a government in waiting in Afghanistan

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  • Someone
    Dec 21, 2011 - 6:11PM

    There’s no such thing as Pakistani ‘liberal’ commenters here. All the so-called Pakistani ‘liberals’ who usually pass comments are Indians posing as Pakistanis. It’s funny to see how they’ve all disappeared.

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  • Dec 21, 2011 - 8:35PM

    @Someone:
    There are liberals but the full name is limousine liberals, chattering classes and some leftists.Recommend

  • antanu
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:34PM

    @vasan:
    Your comments belie the fact….the double standards of US. Now keep justifying the US …the truth has come out.

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  • MK
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:39PM

    @Syed:
    They are around , just in a REALITY SHOCK. I heard It takes a while to recover if one is not used to it.

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  • MK
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:41PM

    @M omar:
    Those Taliban blow themselves up in their own homeland, I wonder what was a US soldier doing near him.

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  • Hyder
    Dec 22, 2011 - 1:08AM

    This is only a game of words. US presidential elections are across the corner and the Obama team wants to accumulate some credits under its belt on the last moment. The Iraqi withdrawal “apparently” went very well and “seems promising” for Iraq’s future. The Obama team wants to use the Iraqi strategy in Afghanistan, essentially, by isolating the “good enemy” from the “bad enemy”. In Iraq, they made a strategy of separating the Sunni militia and the Sunni population by making them side with the US and dropping their support for Al Qaeda, which worked out. They now want to do the same in Afghanistan by separating the Taliban from AlQaeda and turning the two against each other. Its a smart strategy. However, I am not sure if it will work in the case of breaking the Taliban-AlQaeda relationship.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:00AM

    Indeed, a transfer of the Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo back to Afghanistan could be seen as extending an olive branch to the Taliban and a way to win their confidence. It’s time for a pragmatic solution to end the war there.

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  • Hyper Ali
    Dec 22, 2011 - 4:02AM

    @Hu Jintao: Shock for what exactly ? You get so easily entertained and as you prove again and again, instead of focusing on what the Afghan feels about this news you are worrying about what Indians feel about this news ……haha….dude your life revolves around what Indians feel. Rest assured your life is seriously boring.

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  • Ahsan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 4:10AM

    This is an attack on Taliban’s identity…one can ask to his boss…who the hell I’m? whom Biden is talking about?

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  • RKS
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:36AM

    USA or USAMA…no difference !!!!!!

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  • Sayyed Mehdi
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:48AM

    Biden’s right. If anyone of the people commenting here had read up on how and why the war started, it started because Mullah Omar’s government was refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda was US’s enemy, NOT the Taliban. It was NEVER the Taliban. The Taliban only came into the picture because they were defending Al-Qaeda.

    For those of you who actually want to find out how the war started, read Mullah Zaeef’s “My Life with the Taliban”. This guy was the Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan and almost all Pak-US-Afghan communication happened through him.

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  • Aminul Haque
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:57AM

    What truly is in your mind,Mr.Biden?

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  • Dec 22, 2011 - 2:06PM

    So when is Joe Biden joining Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ?
    IK was right all along …

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  • MK
    Dec 22, 2011 - 8:47PM

    @David Salmon:

    “We would have left the Taliban alone had they left us alone”.
    STOP playing victims and saying that Taliban started it. USA invaded more than 130 times in last 100 years. Who started those wars? You kept on knocking on devils door, only difference is that this time someone answered. SHOCKED?
    It is sad that civilians get caught in wars and acts like 9/11, but at least you now know how it feels when someone comes to your homeland and kill your people( It is only 2800 in 9/11 vs a few million by USA all over the world)
    “we will not again abandon Afghanistan”
    It is happening already, with plans of leaving and talking to people who you want others (including Pakistan) to fight.
    “It was a mistake the first time, and we will not make that mistake again, and we have said so repeatedly, including the part about the women”
    ARE you telling me that women are free of any discrimination now in Afghanistan. Wasn’t Malalai Joya (Woman member of Parliament) threatened murder and rape during parliament session by members of US supported Northern Alliance(although they constantly fight amongst themselves)
    “and next year we will be assisted by an Afghan Army of 350,000 men”
    Is this your attempt to be humorous? What army?, one that works for Taliban at night, is extremely incompetent and corrupt and has very little to none representation from Pashtuns who are 45% of the population and run by a president who was only elected because his rival didn’t contest final phase of elections. All his rival was asking was an independent election commission like other democracies and not under command of a sitting president who is contesting himself again, and after first round was full of vote rigging.
    All that has happened is that one corrupt regime is replaced by another corrupt one, just that this one is US allies.
    USA is doing all this because it can do it. Has enough power to do that. I give you that. BUT STOP playing victims and pretending there is any moral reasoning behind this and you have good intentions and care about people of Afghanistan. Recommend

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