Earlier this week, White House spokesman Eric Schultz insisted that the Afghan Taliban is an “armed insurgency,” drawing a distinction with the Islamic State as a “terrorist group.” Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to further press inquiry with a similar refusal to label the Taliban as a terrorist group. Bloomberg,
Judging by Ernest’s response, Schultz hadn’t gone rogue on the administration’s official position on the Taliban.
“They do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism,” Earnest said of the Taliban. “They do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda.” …
Earnest tiptoed around the more obvious conclusion that several journalists in the briefing room had reached—that the Taliban’s in-between designation made it easier for the U.S. to carry off last year’s prisoner swap, which involved freeing five Taliban detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for the freeing of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.