July 26, 2007

Korean Hostages Threatened by Taliban; America Blamed

Hatched by Sachi

According to Robert Koehler of the Marmot's Hole, the Korean press is all set to blame America if the Taliban makes good its threat to kill the 23 (now 22) Korean Christian-evangelists currently held hostage.

The Korean press reasons thus: Kabul is reluctant to negotiate with the Taliban only because of pressure from the West... i.e, the United States and our "lapdog," Great Britian. Since Afghanistan relies upon foreign aid, the press concludes, Afghan President Hamid Karzai dares not offend America or our allies. So it's all America's fault.

But Koehler points out that if Karzai is reluctant to listen to South Korea's plea, it's not necessarily because of the United States: South Korea is simply short stacked, due to the insignificant contribution it has made in the Afganistan war:

Of course, what Yonhap doesn’t say is that, perhaps, Kabul is ignoring the Taliban’s demands because a) it doesn’t want to turn kidnapping into a lucrative business, and more to the point b) Korea’s contribution to the fight against the Taliban has been next to nil, and its 200 non-combat troops will be withdrawn by the end of the year anyway. Kabul has absolutely no reason whatsoever to free enemies of the state who, upon their release, will go about attacking schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, killing Afghan civilians and attacking both its troops and the troops of allied states, all to rescue a bunch of highly irresponsible individuals who should have never been in the country in the first place and were probably engaged in activities [Christian evangelism] even the Karzai government deems illegal. When Kabul freed five Taliban terrorists to save an Italian journalist earlier this year, it didn’t do it out of the kindness of either Karzai’s or Bush’s heart -- it did it because Italy threatened to pull out its 2,000 troops. Influence is earned, and Seoul -- so sorry -- hasn’t earned any.

So what is Korea to do? Koehler suggests that instead of blaming the US, Korea should offer to provide more troops, real combat or police troops, to Afghanistan.

If South Korea wants to have some influence, it must earn it. Yes, such an act could anger the Taliban, and they might very well retaliate by killing all the hostages. But they've said they're going to kill them anyway -- and evidently have already killed one. Even without Korea offering new troops, the fate of the hostages seems grim.

But if Korea were to respond to the kidnapping and threat with force instead of appeasement, at least they could show the Taliban (and the world) that Korea is a force to be reckoned with. After all, there are still more than 150 Korean evengelists still living in Afghanistan. If South Korea wants to avoid future kidnapping, they had better start showing some spine now.

Dafydd adds: Sure, the South Koreans may be weenies. But what about the Japanese? They're being whupped by weenies!

Hatched by Sachi on this day, July 26, 2007, at the time of 6:04 PM

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The following hissed in response by: hunter

This is what makes terrorism work: Buying into the terrorist's behavior by not holding them and them alone responsible for the kidnappings, torture, imprisonment and killings and destruction they commit.
We need to return to a clarity on this that has been lacking ever since Arafat was permitted to speak to the UN brandishing a gun.
We should go into the Taliban areas, take counter hostages from known clans and family groups that support the Taliban and hold them. We should bomb known supporters of the terrorists every day their allies hold hostages. We should block all commerce except the bare requirements to sustain life from their strongholds.
This should be implemented worldwide and against all terror groups: respond by attacking their supporters and disrupting the family and clan relationships all of these groups depend on. Disrupting the trade they and their supporters depend on.
The weakness of the West is that we thought we could transform terrorists into statesman by playing nice. This was not seen as good faith by terrorists, but seen as weakness.
South Korea's actions in this only show weakness to the Taliban and they will respond accordingly.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2007 8:54 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

I think we must occasional ask - what would the old British empire due? Look up the history of Afghanistan. Sub-topic British reprisals.

It is weird, the Taliban gets treated like some force of nature, some sort of wild beast outside anyone's control.

Hunter - "...block all commerce except the bare requirements to sustain life from their strongholds"? Why allow even the bare minimum?

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2007 9:10 AM

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