Taliban militants on Wednesday released 12 of 19 South Korean captives they promised to free under a deal struck with the South Korean government to resolve a nearly six-week hostage crisis.
The deal, reached in direct talks Tuesday between South Korean diplomats and the Taliban, was criticized by one Afghan government minister amid concerns it could embolden the insurgents at a time of rising violence in the country.
If you are curious as to why there are concerns of emboldening the enemy ... just look at the deal S. Korea struck with the Taliban.
To secure the release of the church workers, South Korea reaffirmed a pledge it made before the hostage crisis began to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Seoul also said it would prevent South Korean Christian missionaries from working in the country, something it had already promised to do.
Needless to say, US and Afghan forces are pissed that S. Korea has now given the Taliban legitimacy, and they rightfully claim that this will make the conflict more difficult and deadly.
An Afghan government minister criticized Seoul for the deal, saying it could embolden the Taliban.
"One has to say that this release under these conditions will make our difficulties in Afghanistan even bigger," Commerce Minister Amin Farhang told Germany's Bayerischer Rundfunk radio. "We fear that this decision could become a precedent. The Taliban will continue trying to take hostages to attain their aims in Afghanistan."
Kidnapping has become a standard tactic of gaining leverage against the enemy, and this time it worked.
While it is sad that they were taken hostage, and some lost their lives, they knew what the risks were before they chose to go to Afghanistan. No one is eluding to that fact.