The messaging changed.
Sami Sadat, General of the Maiwand 215th Corps in Lashkargah, Helmand, is not calling Taliban terrorists but is instead calling them young sons of parents whom he doesn’t want to kill but must in order to defend his city. It’s on point and the language I would have used.
Taliban thrive on being called terrorists because it’s a badge of honor given that the Bush administration casually threw that label around onto anyone that opposed them and calling Taliban terrorists drives recruitment.
I don’t know what this means, whether or not he was coached by someone (maybe the Biden people), but I’m making a note of it.
Of course, the rest of ANDSF parading around dead Taliban on the hoods of their Humvees and calling them terrorists every chance they get works against this messaging, so they should probably all get on the same page.