Earnest Clarifies: 'Clear Difference' Between Taliban and Al Qaeda
The White House has now tried to clarify yesterday's surprising statement that the Taliban is not a terrorist group like ISIS.
Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said Wednesday that the Taliban is not considered a terrorist group, but rather an “armed insurgency.”
He was responding to a question about whether Jordan’s plan to make a prisoner trade with ISIS was similar to the U.S. swapping five Taliban members for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
The question came after White House criticism over Jordan's plan to trade a failed suicide bomber for the pilot.
Now today, Press Secretary Josh Earnest sought to differentiate the Afghan Taliban from al Qaeda, saying the two groups pose different threats.
"The threat from the Taliban is acute if you are a service member in Afghanistan or if you are a U.S. diplomat or contractor working in Afghanistan," said Earnest, adding there is a "clear difference" between the Taliban and al Qaeda.
He said al Qaeda has a much broader global aspiration to carry out terror attacks against the U.S. and its interests.
Earnest called the Taliban a "very dangerous organization" that engages in "terror tactics."
In his report from the White House, Leland Vittert noted that the Taliban is no longer holding any Americans, while ISIS has at least one American hostage.
Watch the report above.
Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich then weighed in on "The Real Story," calling this a big distraction from the key issue.
"This is the White House doing verbal gymnastics to save Barack Obama and his legacy when it comes out that Bowe Bergdahl [...] was a deserter," Pavlich said.
Pavlich said that the administration wants to be able to say that it didn't negotiate with terrorists to bring Bergdahl home; instead, officials just negotiated with armed insurgents.
Pavlich charged the administration with going through great lengths to parse words.