By: Edwin Mora
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s administration, marking a departure from the position of its predecessor, did not hesitate to refer to the Afghan Taliban, which has killed and wounded U.S. service members for nearly 16 years, as a “terrorist organization.”
When pressed whether or not it considered the Afghan Taliban a terrorist organization, former President Barack Obama’s White House said the jihadists are not terrorists, referring to the group as an “armed insurgency” instead.
Breitbart News posed a similar question to Trump’s State Department, in charge of maintaining the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).
“Since 2002, the Afghan Taliban has been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions and penalties on terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism,” responded a State Department spokesperson. “As a result of the designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which the group has any interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them or to their benefit.”
“In addition to the Taliban’s designation under E.O. 13224, section 691(d) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 mandates that the Taliban is considered a terrorist organization for immigration purposes,” continued the official.
Terrorists, primarily the Taliban, have killed at least 2,251 U.S. service members and wounded another 20,218 since the war started in Afghanistan back in 2001.
The majority of U.S. military casualties have taken place under the former President Obama’s watch.
Asked why the U.S. opposed Jordan’s decision to seek a prisoner swap with the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) when the Obama administration carried out its prisoner swap last year with the Taliban to secure the release of Army “deserter” Bowe Bergdahl, White House spokesman Eric Schultz replied: “The Taliban is an armed insurgency, ISIL is a terrorist group. So, we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups.”
“Their aspirations are different. It means that their threat to the American people and our interests are different,” explained the White House spokesman. “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 American service members inside of Afghanistan.”
“We have used some financial sanctions instruments to try to limit the capacity of the Taliban by imposing sanctions against them,” he added. “But there’s no doubt that the threat from the Taliban is different than the threat that is posed by al-Qaeda.”
The U.S. military overthrew the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001 for facilitating the September 11, 2001, attacks on the American homeland.