I have received a letter from a Korean journalist. I would like to share this with you and see what you think.
> Salam, Jouno friends!!! > > It's Lee, a Korean journalist missing you guys and hospitable afghans, > here in Beirut Lebanon. > What a shocking news it is that some 21 koreans, who belong to the > 'Hilal' hospital-runned NGO in Kandahar, were abducted yesterday.
Taliban threaten to kill 18 Koreans, including 15 women, unless Seoul pulls out its 200 troops from Afghanistan, underscoring the militia's use of soft targets to weaken President Hamid Karzai's government.
In the largest-scale abduction of foreigners since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the South Koreans were kidnapped at gunpoint from a bus in Ghazni province's Qarabagh district on Thursday as they traveled on the main highway from Kabul to the southern city of Kandahar.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed the abduction of 21 Koreans, including 16 women, according to Yonhap
The discrepancy in figures could not be immediately clarified.
> As I do keep clear pictures of 'Hilal hospital' in Kandahar (in my mind), > where ive seen a lot afghan women patients and korean doctors, afghan > doctor, afghan nurses...in harmony, I myself feel very aweful and thinking > it could be a blast to those all. So sad in fact.
Outmatched by foreign troops, the Taliban often resorts to kidnapping civilians caught traveling on treacherous roads, particularly in the country's south, where the insurgency is raging.
The tactic hurts Karzai's government by discouraging foreigners involved in reconstruction projects from venturing outside big towns and into remote areas where their help is most needed.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that the hostages were members of the Saemmul Community Church in Bundang, just south of the South Korean capital, Seoul, who had entered Afghanistan on July 13 for volunteer work and were planning to return home on Monday.
> Although the hospital is sponsored by a very 'name valuable' korean > church, they never intended to preach religion thing, rather they do very > respect the local culture, religion, thoughts of people there and all > people. As we're all equal human beings, it's a must.
Some 1,200 Christians, including hundreds of South Korean children, reportedly traveled to Afghanistan last summer.
"They are young Korean Christians who were engaged in short-term evangelistic activity and service for children in Kandahar," said Joseph Park, mission director of the Christian Council of Korea.
Oh Soo-In, a senior church administer at Saemmul Community Church, said the captured church group are in their 20s and 30s, as reported by AFP
> Just this 'helpless woman' currently far distanced, appeal you > journalists that...> > Please, you do contact with Taliban movement, spokesperson to remind them > > > 1) "this brings absolutely negative effect to their movement and afghan > society as a whole" 2) "Majority of S.Koreans oppose those foreign troops' > agression as Talibs do" This is a FACT.> 3) And those abducted are purely of help for Afghan friends and want to be > friends and they are innocent.
the South Korean government has urged Christian groups and other Koreans to get out of the country and return home as it works to secure the release of the Christian hostages.
> I do remember our journalist friend, Mr.Ajmal, whose case was totally > unjustifiable to any of us. > Let's do out best to avoid this kind of series in our circle. > I believe many of you could do some effective role for this case with > your article, with your relations with Talibs, convincing them to release > those innocents.
I am wondering what we could exactly do here to help?
> Another blast from this case to me is that > S.Korea government seems to request all afghan embassy abroad > "NOT TO ISSUE VISA FOR KOREAN NATIONALS" as they did for Iraq entrance > (for even journalist). I was going to be back Afghanistan coming early sep. > So, this is a blast to me as well. I really miss there to do more stories > from there field. > I wish you all the best!!! > in Peace > Lee (+ 961 70 82 05 71 in Lebanon)