US considering designating TTP as terror outfit

US considering designating TTP as terror outfit

"We are considering the question of designating the Pakistani Taliban (as a terrorist outfit). Now it is the matter of meeting the legal requirements," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said. " ...there's a deliberately or intentionally deliberate process that we go through, and if any group that is to be designated must meet very specific legal criteria, but it is something that we are considering in light of what happened," Crowley said, referring to the Times Square case.

A group of five influential Senators meanwhile asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to put the TTP under the bracket of a foreign terrorist organisation as it has been involved in terrorist attack on American soil. "We write to urge you to add the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, otherwise known as the Pakistani Taliban, to the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO)," the five Senators said in a letter to Clinton.

The Senators are Charles E Schumer, Kay Hagan, Kirsten Gillibrand, Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg. Crowley, who said the administration was looking very closely at the issue, however refused to give further details and refrained from giving out anything about the stage of consideration the issue is. "It is a group that we have been focused on for some time, but I think in light of the Times Square attempt, it's something we're looking at very closely," the official said.

"I can't recite the history of this particular group but it has not been in existence for that long. But obviously it has come into sharp relief in light of Times Square bombing and this is something that we are actively considering," Crowley said. The State Department spokesperson said there is a lengthy deliberative process that goes into designating an outfit as a foreign terrorist organisation.

"...we are working through a process based on the criteria in the law," he said. The letter written to Clinton said the Pakistani Taliban is a murderous organisation dedicated to killing civilians, harming US interests in the region, and has even taken credit for terrorist acts committed on US soil. In a video recorded in April 2010, a representative of the Taliban in Pakistan indicated that it would make cities in the United States a "main target," the Senators said.