Pakistani Taliban not on the State Department terror list?

We’ve been targeting the Pakistani Taliban for years, thanks to their alliance with al-Qaeda and intent on overthrowing the Pakistani government, as well as their links to the Afghan Taliban.  Predator drone attacks have killed a number of their leaders, although not as many as we’d hoped before the Times Square bombing attempt.  But did you know that the State Department still hasn’t listed the Pakistani Taliban as a terrorist group?  Five Senators want to know why:

Several lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to put the Pakistani Taliban on a State Department terrorism blacklist that would impose sanctions on the group, which officials say is linked to the failed Times Square car bombing.

In a letter Tuesday to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at least five Democratic senators — including those from New York and New Jersey — asked Tuesday that the group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, be designated a “foreign terrorist organization.” The move would freeze the group’s U.S. assets and make it a crime for Americans to offer it material support.

For that matter, it doesn’t appear that the Taliban in Afghanistan have made it onto the list, either.   Isn’t that an odd omission?   That isn’t just an oversight by this administration, either, but one by the preceding Bush administration as well.  After all, we’re fighting them on the ground in the region, and they clearly use terrorism as their chief tactic.

The Obama administration has talked about attempting to get “moderate Taliban” to the table in Afghanistan, which may have kept them from adding that branch of the terrorist network to the list.  That’s a fool’s errand in any case; we will eventually need to deal with the moderate Pashtuns, but the term “moderate Taliban” is an oxymoron.  If we’re conducting a war on them, we should acknowledge them as the terrorists they are.  However, that excuse doesn’t apply at all in Pakistan.  No one, to my knowledge, thinks that negotiating with the Taliban in Pakistan is either desirable or possible, especially since any power-sharing would put the Taliban within arms’ reach of Pakistani nuclear weapons.

Will the lack of Tehrik-e-Taliban on the list complicate the prosecution of Faisal Shahzad?  At least for offering support to a terrorist network, it might.  He’s still on the hook for hundreds of counts of attempted murder (depending on how the prosecutors approach it) and terrorism charges on his own.  He should also face treason charges, and a jury can decide for themselves whether he acted on behalf of a known enemy of the United States when he attempted to explode his Pathfinder in a crowded shopping area of Manhattan.

Obviously, we need to update the State Department terror list … and soon.