The US is set to remove five extremist groups from its list of foreign terrorist organizations, all of which are thought to be obsolete, including several that formerly constituted substantial risks, killing hundreds of people across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Despite the fact that the organizations are no longer operational, the move is politically delicate for the Biden administration and the countries where they operated, and it may bring condemnation from victims and their families who are still grieving the death of loved ones.

The Basque separatist group ETA, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, the radical Jewish group Kahane Kach, and two Islamic groups active in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Egypt are among the organizations.

The measures were announced by the US State Department on Friday, and they come at a time when Washington and abroad are debating whether Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard should or can be legally pulled from the US list as part of efforts to save the stalled Iran nuclear deal.

In each case, the general explanation for the removals is the same: Blinken claims they were based on an administrative review of the designations, which is required by law every five years.

The reviews look at whether designated organisations are still operational, if they have committed terrorist actions in the last five years, and whether removing or keeping them on the list is in the best interests of US national security. The secretary of state has the authority under the law that created the list to remove groups that no longer fulfill specific threshold.

Only 15 groups have been removed from the list so far.

The Associated Press got copies of the notifications, which were all signed on Wednesday by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Removing the groups from the list immediately lifts plenty of restrictions that had been imposed as a result of the designations. Asset freezes and travel restrictions are among them, as is a prohibition on any Americans providing material support to the groups or their members. In the past, material support was defined widely to include monetary or in-kind help, and in some situations, medical treatment.


  • Saqalain Eqbal is an Online Editor for Khaama Press. He is a Law graduate from The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).