WASHINGTON: The White House has termed the Afghan Taliban as armed insurgency, differentiating it from the ISIS terrorist organization operating in Iraq and Syria, as a spokesman reiterated longstanding American position that rules out giving any concessions to terrorists.
Reacting to Jordan’s reported plan to exchange a convicted terrorist with a Jordanian pilot held captive by the ISIS, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said Washington does not pay ransom to terrorists.
“Our policy is that we don’t pay ransom, that we don’t give concessions to terrorist organizations,”
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, when asked about the U.S. position on the Jordanian plan.
“This is a longstanding policy that predates this administration and it’s also one that we communicated
to our friends and allies across the world,” he added.
When pointed out that the Obama Administration had entered into a deal for release of American Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for freeing Taliban prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay, the spokesman clarified.
“Prisoner swaps are a traditional, end-of-conflict interaction that happens.
As the war in Afghanistan wound down, we felt like it was the appropriate thing to do.
The President’s bedrock commitment as Commander-in-Chief is to leave no man or woman behind.
That’s the principle he was operating under.
“I’d also point out that the Taliban is an armed insurgency; ISIL is a terrorist group.
So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups,” he underlined.
Asked pointedly, if the U.S. does not consider the Afghan Taliban a terrorist group, Schultz replied:
“I don’t think that the Taliban — the Taliban is an armed insurgency.
This was a winding-down of the war in Afghanistan, and that’s why this arrangement was dealt.”
“Our view is, as the President said at the time, which is, as Commander-in-Chief, when he sends men and women into armed combat, he doesn’t want to leave anyone behind.
That was the commitment he was following through on this,” Schultz added.