- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The U.S. military’s top intelligence officer on Tuesday, unlike the White House, had no trouble designating the Taliban as “terrorists.”

Last week, White House spokesmen declined to label the Afghanistan Taliban a terrorist organization like al Qaeda and the Islamic State, even though it carries out regular deadly attacks on civilians. The White House calls the Taliban an “armed insurgency.”

But Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, took a different view.

He was answering questions from the House Armed Services Committee on the five Taliban chieftains who will soon be free to leave Qatar and return to the battlefield in Afghanistan. The Obama administration released the five from the Guantanamo prison in return for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

When their one-year restriction ends in June, Gen. Stewart said:

“We continue to provide tactical intelligence support. We continue to look at monitoring the number of sources who will tell us whether these individuals have gone back into business. Directly, though, besides notifying folks that these terrorists have gone back into business, there is very little at this point that DIA could do besides warning of their continued operations.”

If the five do go back to Afghanistan, they will face intelligence monitoring and thus could be targeted again, officials have said.

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