"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 al-Qaida 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-Qaida 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 al-Qaida had launched an attack against the US from Afghanistan," he said.