U.S. may designate TTP a terror outfit

Washington: The U.S. is looking into legal formalities of designating Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan as a foreign terrorist organisation with a probe pointing to its involvement in the failed Times Square bombing, as clamour grows for recognising the outfit as a terrorist body.

“We are considering the question of designating the Pakistani Taliban [as a terrorist outfit]. Now it is the matter of meeting the legal requirements,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley.

“ ...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,” he said, referring to the Times Square case.

Senators' plea

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.

“We write to urge you to add the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, otherwise known as the Pakistani Taliban, to the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations [FTO],” said Charles E Schumer, Kay Hagan, Kirsten Gillibrand, Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg.

Mr. Crowley, 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.

The Senators said the Pakistani Taliban is a murderous organisation dedicated to killing civilians, harming U.S. interests in the region, and has even taken credit for terrorist acts committed on U.S. 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 of America a “main target,” they said. — PTI