White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday that any suggestion that the American government is “colluding” with Taliban forces in Afghanistan is “categorically false,” but stopped short of denying active U.S.-Taliban negotiations.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban to destabilize the region through violence and justify an extended American presence.
Asked about Karzai’s allegations on Monday, Carney offered a forceful rebuke.
“[A]ny suggestion [that] the United States is colluding with the Taliban is categorically false,” Carney said. “The United States has spent enormous blood and treasure for the past 12 years supporting the Afghan people and ensuring — in the effort to ensure stability and security in that country. The last thing we would do is support any kind of violence, particularly involving innocent civilians.”
“What sort of talks has the U.S. had with the Taliban leadership?” Carney was asked later in the press conference.
He deferred to “Afghan-led reconciliation discussions,” appearing to stop short of excluding the possibility of any form of current negotiations between the United States and the Taliban.
“Look, we support Afghan-led reconciliation discussions. There are no current nego… — you know, I’m not going to get into details but the focus right now is on Afghan-led reconciliation negotiations,” Carney said.