Dealing with cowardsKorea has lost another innocent life to terrorism. Shim Sung-min, one of 22 remaining Korean hostages held by the Taliban, was found murdered yesterday. The 29-year-old Shim is the second victim in the kidnapping case in Afghanistan. Bae Hyung-kyu, the leader of the kidnapped Korean volunteers, was killed last Wednesday.
The deep sorrow of Shim’s family is the pain and sadness of us all. We shall never forget the cruelty and cowardice of the Taliban.
The evidence of these cold-blooded killings suggests the Taliban are no longer conscientious Muslims but have become murderous pyschopaths. So the best solution, to prevent the deaths of other hostages is to release the Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government, as the kidnappers demand.
But the Korean government cannot force the Afghan government to do that, so more Koreans are likely to die. The Afghan government is reluctant to free Taliban prisoners because the United States, its principal ally, has a policy of no compromise with terrorists.
Nonetheless, the Korean government cannot just sit back and watch our citizens die one by one. The Korean government should put all its efforts into keeping the remaining hostages safe, even holding off negotiations with the kidnappers to free the Taliban prisoners.
The United States should also do something, as citizens of a nation it has called “a strong ally” are dying in terror. If the purpose of its war on terror is to prevent the death of innocent people, the United States must do more. There might be some ways that the United State government could work behind the scenes to free the hostages without damaging its cause.
The United States and Afghan governments are known to be considering a military operation against the Taliban, but the situation should be handled through negotiations. Seoul, however, needs to consider a plan for the worst-case scenario.
Many Koreans appear to be frustrated by the fact that there is little they can do to save the lives of their fellow citizens. They have begun to think the government is impotent as the talks between the president’s special envoy and the Afghan government have produced nothing. Some even went as far as to say they want Korean special forces to go to Afghanistan to rescue the hostages.
However, this is not an issue that can be resolved with loose emotions. What we need at this time of crisis is a cool head.