US insists Taliban is not a terror group – explains what they really are

by Nneamaka Opara


The US has said that the tactics adopted by the Taliban are akin to terrorism but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan unlike al-Qaeda or ISIS which have worldwide network.

Justifying its stance of dubbing the Afghan Taliban as “an armed insurgency” and fighting the group, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said American service members have given their lives fighting the Taliban because they do pose a threat to American interests inside Afghanistan.

“They (the Taliban) do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism. They do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda,” he told reporters yesterday.

Earnest’s remarks came a day after his deputy Eric Schultz said, “the Taliban is an armed insurgency. ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) is a terrorist group.”

The US, Earnest said, has designated the Taliban in such a way so as to put in place some financial sanctions against the leaders of that organization, in a way that’s been beneficial to its ongoing efforts against the militant group.

“Now, what’s also true, is that it’s important to draw a distinction between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The Taliban has resorted to terror tactics, but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan,” he repeated.

The reason that the US is concerned about that is there obviously are a significant number of American personnel, including American military personnel, in Afghanistan that are in harm’s way, he said.

“The Taliban is a very dangerous organization. What the President has pursued is a clear strategy for building up the central government of Afghanistan and the Afghan security forces, so that they could be responsible for security in their own country and take the fight to the Taliban,” he said.

“That, however, is different than the strategy that we have pursued against al-Qaeda. The al-Qaeda is a terrorist organisation that has aspirations that extend beyond just the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Al Qaida and their affiliates around the globe have sought to carry out terror attacks against Americans and American interests all around the globe,” he said explaining the difference between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Responding to a question, Earnest said the Pakistani Taliban – an ally of the Afghan Taliban, is a terrorist organisation.

“We have expended significant sums of money and American service members have given their lives fighting the Taliban because they do pose a threat to American interests and to American service members inside of Afghanistan,” Earnest said.

“We have used some financial sanctions instruments to try to limit the capacity of the Taliban by imposing the sanctions against them. But, there’s no doubt that the threat from the Taliban is different than the threat that is posed by Al Qaeda,” he said in response to a question.


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