White House press secretary Jay Carney is asked about Vice President Joe Biden’s remark that “the Taliban per se is not our enemy.”
Carney: “I think it is important — I know you’ve written about this — to understand what most Americans I think know, which is that we didn’t invade Afghanistan, we did not send U.S. military personnel into Afghanistan because the Taliban were in power. They had been in power. We sent — we went into Afghanistan because al-Qaeda had launched an attack against the United States from Afghanistan.
“And what the vice president was reflecting is that, and this is related to the reconciliation process that I was just discussing, is that the Taliban per se, while we are fighting them, it is not the elimination, the elimination of the Taliban is not the issue here. The objective that the president laid out when he laid out his Afghanistan strategy made clear that the number one principle here is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately to defeat al-Qaeda, as well as help stabilize Afghanistan. And that’s what we’re doing.
“Part of that process is our support for the Afghan-led reconciliation talks. The conditions for reconciliation for the Taliban are very clear. But reconciliation has to be a part of the long-term process in Afghanistan if Afghanistan is going to evolve into a peaceful country.”