WASHINGTON — Two of the leading political parties representing the Middle East’s stateless Kurdish population will soon be removed from a U.S. list of potential terrorist groups, in a move that U.S. and Kurdish officials say will resolve a long-standing dispute between Washington and a community that has proven to be one of its favored partners in the region, most recently in the fight against the militant group known as the Islamic State.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) are the primary political parties in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The region’s current president, Massoud Barzani, is the head of the KDP, and the PUK’s leader is the ailing former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Peshmergas, or Kurdish militia fighters, aligned with both parties have been at the front lines of the U.S.-led battle against the Islamic State, both in Iraq and in Syria.
The PKK remain on the Tier 1 terror list.