White House spokesmen have lately been claiming that the Taliban is not a terrorist organization. We can speculate as to why the Obama administration is making this argument in a moment, but let’s look at the facts.
Under federal law, a group qualifies as a “foreign terrorist organization” if it meets three requirements. First, it must be foreign. Second, it must be engaged in “terrorist activity” which would include bombings or assassinations. Third, it must be a national security threat to the United States.
I would think that anyone looking at the facts would have to conclude that the Taliban in Afghanistan qualifies as a terrorist organization. The reason the U.S. sent troops into Afghanistan was due to its involvement in global jihad. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan they allowed groups like al-Qaeda to set up headquarters there and attack U.S. embassies and eventually to attack America on 9/11. The Taliban still has alliances with groups like Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Andrew McCarthy believes he knows the reason why the current administration does not want to call the Taliban a terrorist organization. They try to distinguish between “insurgents” and “terrorists.” To them, an insurgency is just a domestic uprising. But if they use terrorist tactics, McCarthy argues that at the least they should be called domestic terrorists. And the Taliban is more than just an Afghanistan phenomenon.
Andrew McCarthy understands these issues. He is a former federal prosecutor who convicted the notorious “Blind Sheikh” and other jihadists who attempted in 1993 to destroy the World Trade Center. McCarthy believes the Obama administration continues to reject the terrorist label for the Taliban because the administration wants to negotiate with the Taliban. As a nation, we have rejected the idea of negotiating with terrorists because that might encourage them to engage in more terrorist acts. Instead, the administration believes it should negotiate with the Taliban as “insurgents.”
This administration may not want to call the Taliban a terrorist organization, but their attempt doesn’t square with the facts.