The PJ Tatler

State Department Refuses to Call Taliban Murder of Civilians 'Terrorism'

There was another green on blue attack in Afghanistan on Friday as a terrorist dressed in the uniform of the Afghan security forces gunned down three American civilian contractors and wounded one. The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement that the gunman was “martyred by return fire.”

An open and shut case of terrorism committed against Americans? Not according to State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki:

The Obama administration continues to play verbal gymnastics by refusing to call the Taliban the terrorist organization it is, insisting it’s merely an “armed insurgency.”

And yet a 2002 executive order including the Taliban on a list of “specially designated global terrorists” is still in effect, Fox News reported.

After the Taliban claimed responsibility for killing three U.S. civilians Thursday, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki shied away from calling their deaths the result of terrorism.

“Obviously, any attack that kills contractors, that kills individuals who are working there in harm’s way, is horrific and a tragedy, but I’m not going to put new labels on it today,” Psaki told CNS News.

It didn’t help the administration that the attack came one day after White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz insisted yet again that the Taliban is a not a terrorist group.

“I’m just not sure why you wouldn’t just say, ‘Of course, it’s a terrorist attack,’” Associated Press reporter Matt Lee told Psaki, according to CNS News.

“It’s an act of terror when American citizens are, individuals are killed, like contractors, absolutely,” she replied.

Can this dodge get any more painfully awkward?

As National Review points out, we are currently engaged in on-again, off-again peace talks with the Afghan Taliban — the “good” Taliban, as the administration coyly calls them. It just wouldn’t do for the US to be seen negotiating with terrorists. So we play a game of “pretend” and reject reality in favor of the semantic fig leaf of “armed insurgency.”

A serious question is who are we fooling with this nonsense? Certainly not the Taliban, who might not like being called “terrorists” but are smart enough to know our definition. They’re not fooling the Afghan government, who has to deal with these murderous thugs, and the aftermath of their suicide attacks that have killed hundreds. They’re not fooling the American people who know a terrorist when they see one.

It appears that the only ones being fooled by refusing to call a spade a spade and a terrorist a terrorist is the administration itself. If they can kid themselves into believing terrorists aren’t terrorists, they will believe anything, including the Muslim Brotherhood are “moderates,” Iran can bring stability to the Middle East, and Israel is an oppressor state.

Another example of our “smart” foreign policy in action.