White House: Taliban An "Armed Insurgency," Not A "Terrorist Group" Like ISIL

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At Wednesday's White House press briefing, deputy press secretary Eric Schultz wouldn't call the Taliban a terrorist group, instead referring to it as "an armed insurgency."

"The Taliban is still conducting terrorist attacks. You can't really say the war has ended as far as they are concerned," ABC's Jonathan Karl said at the briefing.

"Well, 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," Schultz said.

"You don't think the Taliban is a terrorist group?" Karl asked.

"I don't think that the Taliban, um, uh -- the Taliban is an armed insurgency. This was the winding down of the war in Afghanistan and that's why this arrangement was dealt," Schultz responded.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: You say the United States government does not give in to demands, does not pay ransom. But how is what the Jordanians are talking about doing any different than what the United States did to get the release of [Bowe] Bergdahl -- releasing prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay to the Taliban, which is clearly a terrorist organization?

ERIC SCHULTZ, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: As you know, this was highly discussed at the time and prisoner swaps are traditional end-of-conflict interaction that happens. As the war in Afghanistan wound down we thought 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.

KARL: Isn't that what the Jordanians are operating under?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think Jon --

KARL: I mean the Taliban is still conducting terrorist attacks. You can't really say the war has ended as far as they are concerned.

SCHULTZ: Well, 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. We feel --

KARL: You don't think the Taliban is a terrorist group?

SCHULTZ: I don't think that the Taliban, um, uh -- the Taliban is an armed insurgency. This was the 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, is as commander in chief when he sends men and women into armed combat he doesn't want to leave anyone behind.

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