Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hostages and Hostagetakers

The need for prayer for the South Korean Christian workers taken as hostages by the Taliban in Afghanistan is just as necessary as it was before two of the hostages were released. Negotiations are at a standstill. The Taliban demands that Taliban terrorists captured by Afghanistan be released, or the remaining nineteen hostages will be killed. The Taliban claims to be losing patience with South Korea, saying that South Korea has done little to pressure the Afghan government and the U.S. to give into Taliban demands. The U.S. and Afghanistan refuse to negotiate with terrorists. Earlier this year Afghanistan swapped Taliban fighters for hostages, but this has done nothing but encourage the Taliban to take more hostages. It is reported that South Korea offered to pay money for the hostages' release, but after debate, the Taliban rejected the offer. The Taliban has set Monday as the deadline for release of Taliban fighters. It is also reported that some of the hostages are conducting a hunger strike to force their kidnappers to keep all hostages together instead of being separated into groups. A German woman, another Christian worker in Afghanistan, who is five months pregnant, was kidnapped by a group not associated with the Taliban. She was rescued after a few day's captivity.
Pastor Eugene Cho's blog has followed this story much more closely than the rest of the Christian blogosphere. His post for today, plus the links contained in his post, has been the basis for the facts of today's post on this blog.
There has been some criticism of the South Korean hostages for their going to Afghanistan. The criticism goes something like this: the motive for their going to Afghanistan was to convert Muslims to Christianity. Not only is this "proselytizing" insulting to Muslims, these critics say, but this makes the Christian workers responsible for their own captivity as well as the possible loss of life a military rescue would bring about. It is no surprise that the secular press would be making such statements. Unfortunately, some within the church have voiced the same sentiments. Little do they realize that the South Koreans were not in Afghanistan to evangelize, but traveled there to conduct humanitarian relief. The Taliban did not seize them over anger with their activities; they were actively searching for foreigners in Afghanistan to take hostage to pressure the Afghan government to release captured Taliban terrorists.

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