The U.S. State Department says the U.S. government is considering adding the Pakistani Taliban to Washington's official list of "foreign terrorist organizations."
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the process of designating Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan as a terrorist group has accelerated since the failed May 1 car bombing attempt in New York City's Times Square.
U.S. officials have linked the bombing suspect, Pakistan-born Faisal Shahzad, to contacts with the Pakistani Taliban.
"We are considering the question of designating the Pakistani Taliban [as a foreign terrorist organization]," Crowley told journalists. "As you would envision, there is an intentionally deliberate process that we go through and 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 [in Times Square], and obviously, the investigation will yield information that might give us greater clarity."
Inclusion on the U.S. terrorist group lists triggers punitive measures such as the freezing of assets tied to the group, travel bans on people associated with the group, and criminalizing activity that could give the group material help.
There are currently 45 groups on the list, including Al-Qaeda and the Palestinian group Hamas.