The US does not consider Afghan Taliban as a terrorist outfit, but conceded the tactics adopted by them similar to terrorism. “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,” the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday.
The United States, he noted has designating the Taliban in such a way so as to put in place some financial sanctions against the leaders of that organisation, in a way that’s been beneficial to its ongoing efforts against the Taliban.
“Now, what’s also true, is that it’s important to draw a distinction between the Taliban and Al Qaida. The Taliban has resorted to terror tactics, but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan,” he said.
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,” Earnest said.
“That, however, is different than the strategy that we have pursued against Al Qaida. Al Qaida is a terrorist organisation that has aspirations that extend beyond just the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Earnest said.
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 is a terrorist organization. “The Taliban is very dangerous, and 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 Qaida,” he said in response to a question.
Though the State Department has not designated the Afghan Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, it has designated its allies – the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Haqqani Network.
The US is offering up to USD 10 million for information leading to the capture of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. ISIL or IS is an al-Qaeda splinter group and it has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria, declaring an Islamic Caliphate.