Terrorism? Don’t be silly. How droll!
Deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz, filling in for Earnest, would not call the Taliban a “terrorist group,” but instead an “armed insurgency.”
At today’s briefing Josh Earnest seemed to double down on the rhetoric by tip-toeing around the term ‘terrorist group.” Earnest used phrases like “this description that you have put forward” and “designating them in a way that you have described.”
“It is important to draw a distinction between the Taliban and al Qaeda,” Earnest told Karl. “The Taliban has resorted to terror tactics, but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan.”
Earnest also called the Taliban a “dangerous organization.”
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack at a military base at Kabul’s international airport that killed three Americans and one Afghan Thursday.
A U.S. official confirmed that the shooting occurred at about 6:40 p.m. local time Thursday. There was no further comment because the incident was under investigation.
The Taliban’s claim of responsibility came in a message from spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who identified the attacker as a man named Hessanulla from Laghman province, just east of Kabul.
Mujahid said that the militant had infiltrated the ranks of Afghanistan’s forces to stage the attack and wore an Afghan police uniform. An Afghan official with the country’s Defense Ministry said the attacker was in an Afghan army uniform. According to The Washington Post, Mujahid added in a tweet that the terrorist had “opened fire on invaders” before he was “martyred by return fire.” It was not immediately clear if the Afghan confirmed dead was the gunman.
Earnest later amended his remarks to add that the Taliban were “mean” and “big bullies”. He said they made him “so mad he could just spit”.
Actually, he did allow this:
Press Secretary Josh Earnest later acknowledged that the Treasury Department had put the Taliban on a terror list as far back as 2002.
Earnest also acknowledged that the Taliban “carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism, they do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda.” The Obama administration has repeatedly said the U.S. government does not negotiate with terrorists, despite trading five Taliban fighters held at Guantanamo for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
We don’t negotiate with “terrorists”, you understand, just with “armed insurgencies”, “dangerous organizations”, and “akin” groups. (That puts the Taliban on par with patriot and tea party organizations as far as the Regime is concerned.)
In case you forgot, “this description that you have put forward” gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden. But then, Osama wasn’t a terrorist either, but “a guy who lives in [Tora Bora], who’s a [Islamic holy man] who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.”