White House Spokesman: ISIL a Terrorist Group, But Taliban Is an ‘Armed Insurgency’

AP Photo/Rahmatullah Naikzad
AP Photo/Rahmatullah Naikzad

In his inaugural appearance at the podium of the White House press briefing room today, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz stumbled when he was asked by a reporter if the administration considers the Taliban a terrorist group.

Schultz made his comment during a discussion of hostage negotiations that occurred with the Taliban over the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“The Taliban is an armed insurgency,” began Schultz. “ISIL is a terrorist group. We don’t make concessions to terrorist groups.”

“You don’t think the Taliban is a terrorist group?” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked.

“I don’t think that the Taliban… the Taliban is an armed insurgency,” Schultz continued haltingly, pointing out that the United States negotiated Berghdal’s release during the “winding down” of the war in Afghanistan.

Schultz reiterated that the prisoner swap with the Taliban was an “end of conflict” action in support of the president’s commitment to “leave no man/woman behind.”


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