News & Politics

Biden's National Security Advisor Refuses to Call the Taliban an Enemy of the U.S.

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

On Tuesday, Old Joe Biden’s callow national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, sat down with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, who asked him: “What is the Taliban? Are they now our frenemy, are they our adversary, are they our enemy? Are they our — what are they?” Sullivan refused to be pinned down, saying: “Well, it’s hard to put a label on it, in part because we have yet to see what they are going to be now that they’re in control — physical control of Afghanistan.” Sure. Sullivan couldn’t very well call the Taliban an enemy when he himself has strongly intimated that Biden’s handlers are about to start showering American taxpayer dollars upon them. The Taliban, however, clearly don’t see the U.S. as anything but an enemy.

A Taliban spokesman made that clear back in 2014, telling NBC News that Barack Obama’s trade of five Taliban commanders for deserter Bowe Bergdahl was the first time the “enemy,” that is, the United States, had “officially recognized our status.” Before that, in 2012, the leader of the Taliban at that time, Mullah Mohammad Omar, urged “every brave Afghan in the ranks of the foreign forces and their Afghan hirelings…to strike them.” He stated that “jihadist activities inside the circle of the state militias are the most effective stratagem. Its dimension will see further expansion, organization and efficiency. Increase your efforts to expand the area of infiltration in the ranks of the enemy.”

Both of those Taliban statements came after none other than Joe Biden himself sat down in December 2011 with Leslie H. Gelb of Newsweek/The Daily Beast “to do what he loves best–talk about foreign policy,” and declared: “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. So there’s a dual track here: One, continue to keep the pressure on al Qaeda 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. 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.”

None of that was accomplished, of course, and now Biden’s handlers are poised to start the gravy train for the Taliban. When George Stephanopoulos asked Sullivan about the possibility of giving aid to the Taliban, the crack national security expert was no more forthcoming than he was when he was asked if the Taliban was the enemy, but he made it clear that the Biden administration is strongly considering giving aid to the Taliban, as long as the jihadis agree to a fig leaf of adherence to various “commitments.”

Sullivan said: “Well, first of all, we do believe that there is an important dimension of humanitarian assistance that should go directly to the people of Afghanistan. They need help with respect to health, and food aid, and other forms of subsistence, and we do intend to continue that. Secondly, when it comes to our economic and development assistance relationship with the Taliban, that will be about the Taliban’s actions. It will be about whether they follow through on their commitments, their commitments to safe passage for Americans and Afghan allies, their commitment to not allow Afghanistan to be a, a, a base from which terrorists can attack the United States and any other country. Their commitments with respect to upholding their international obligations. It’s gonna be up to them, and, and we will wait and see by their actions how we end up responding, uh, in terms of the economic and development assistance relationship.”

Related: Biden’s Afghanistan: American Hostages in Mazar-i-Sharif and a ‘Genocide in the Making’ in the North

I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that within a few months, Sullivan will happily declare that our non-enemy the Taliban is meeting all its “commitments” with wonderful punctiliousness, and thus the spigot of American aid will be turned on full-blast. The Taliban jihadis themselves will laugh up the sleeves of their shalwar kameez at the prospect of being the recipient of such largesse from an entity they consider their enemy, but it wouldn’t be the first time, would it?