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[Editorial] Taliban Must Listen to Growing Appeal

Posted July. 28, 2007 03:33,   


Lim Hyeon-ju, one of the 22 Korean hostages abducted by the Taliban in Afghanistan, made a plea for help in an interview with U.S. television network CBS. “All of us are sick and in appalling conditions,” Lim said.

Her statement clearly conveys the fear and pain of the hostages who are standing at the crossroads of life and death. It breaks not only the hearts of their families, but also the hearts of the entire population.

It is not difficult to guess why the Taliban allowed Lim, one of the female hostages, to appear on the network. The Taliban militia seems to be determined to employ every possible means to push for the meeting of their demands. Despite having abducted innocent Korean citizens and killed one of them, they have shown no signs of remorse. Instead, they have increased the degree of threats. Although we must not give up hope until all the hostages are released, we cannot help feeling increasingly anxious over the safety of the remaining hostages.

Today marks the tenth day after their abduction. The kidnappers have reportedly taken them to desert and mountain areas. Under the scorching heat, which easily exceeds 40 degrees Celsius, we doubt that the hostages have been given adequate food. It is easy to imagine the suffering of the hostages who have to live each day under the extreme fear of death and inhumane treatment. We have to safely bring them back by all means. In addition, we must seek help from all the countries, including the Afghan and the U.S. government, to obtain leverage with which to unlock the situation.

Fortunately, people in many parts of the world have been raising their concerns over the safety of the abducted Koreans. In Ghazni Province, where the kidnapping took place, more than 1,000 residents risked their own lives to stage a rally against the hostage situation. Avaaz.Org, an Internet-based international civic advocacy group, has been collecting signatures for a petition that calls for an immediate release of the hostages. As of Friday, 45,615 people participated in the campaign. The members of the Korea Muslim Federation, who are mostly foreigners, also prayed for an immediate release of the hostages during a regular church service on Friday.

If the kidnappers possess an ounce of humanity, they must pay attention to the voices of people from across the world. If they ignore them and harm the hostages, they will be digging their own graves. I beg people all over the world to seek ways to warm the cold hearts of the abductees. I strongly plead that the 1.6 billion Muslims across the world join hands to stop their brothers from committing an unthinkable crime.