Taliban warns S Korea not to send more troops to Afghanistan
www.chinaview.cn 2009-12-09 21:33:43   Print

    SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Afghanistan's rebel militant group Taliban has warned South Korea against its plan to dispatch troops to the war-torn Central Asia country, local media reported on Wednesday.

    In a statement e-mailed to international media, Taliban insurgents said Seoul must be ready to face "bad consequences" if the troops are deployed.

    "On one hand this act is against the Afghanistan independence. On the other hand, it will break their promise they made in 2007 in return to the freedom of 19 of their citizens," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency quoted the statement as saying.

    "Now that South Korea wants to break its promise and step on Afghans' independence just to make its American allies happy, we think it will be immoral and a big blow to their government credibility," the statement reportedly said.

    "They should also be prepared for any bad consequences," and the Taliban "will never resort to a soft approach anymore," it added.

    Taliban's warning came as Seoul finalized on its Afghanistan troop deployment plan on Tuesday, set to deploy up to 350 troops to the country for two and a half years as part of the U.S.-led reconstruction program.

    According to the plan, which is scheduled to be submitted to the National Assembly for a parliamentary approval, the troops will be stationed in Parwan Province, north of Kabul, in order to protect the South Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).

    The South Korean government said the main mission of the troops will be to guard the PRT base and escort and protect the activities of the PRT members.

    South Korea pulled out of Afghanistan in 2007 when 23 South Korean Christian missionaries were held captive by the Taliban, with two of them killed and the rest released.

    Since then, Seoul has only taken the role of providing medical and vocational training by assisting the United States and only two dozen South Korean volunteers work inside the U.S. Air Force Base in Bagram, north of Kabul.

    However, the South Korean government said it made no promises to stay out of Afghanistan when it withdrew its troops in 2007, according to local media.

    "There was no promise (to the Taliban) that South Korea would not re-deploy its troops to Afghanistan," an official at the Ministry of National Defense said in November. "We've checked with officials involved in the 2007 negotiations with the Taliban if there was such a promise."

Editor: Anne Tang
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