Will the State Department Add the Pakistani Taliban to the Foreign Terrorist Organization Registry?

May 11, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - With all the deliberate speed that a hidebound bureaucracy can muster, the U.S. State Dept. is considering the possibility of placing Pakistan's Taliban on its official Foreign Terrorist Organization [FTO] registry. [see, http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm]

The recent revelation that the Pak Taliban was involved with Faisal Shahzad's botched Times Square bombing plot has led to considerable pressure towards such a finding.

"It is something we are considering in light of what happened, and obviously the investigation will yield information that might give us greater clarity," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters. Crowley said there was a lengthy legal process before a group could be designated a "foreign terrorist organization" and he did not know when a decision would be made." [source, Reuters, U.S. mulls putting Pakistan Taliban on terrorism list, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64A4YF20100511?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews]

What State has so far remained unclear about is whether such a move would signal the abandonment of its previous stance, that "moderates" within the Taliban might be worked with.

Contacted for comment on this development was Clair Lopez, Sr. Fellow at the Center for Security Policy [see, http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/index.xml].

She outlined the three prerequisites that are necessary to initiate the process of being added to the FTO by the Dept. of State:

1. That the group be foreign.

2. That over the last two years the group either has committed or retains the ability or intent to commit terrorist actions against the United States.

3. That the group poses a national security threat to United States citizens or facilities.

Regardless of whatever inner machinations may or may not be going on at the State Dept., the most direct method of declaring the Taliban a terrorist entity would be through an executive order, the manner in which President Clinton so designated the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in January of 1995.

Such an action could almost immediately clear the way for sanctions to be applied against the group, which might include a freeze on whatever banking assets that might fall within U.S. jurisdiction.

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