Image Source/caption: same as below:
'The chart from the top to bottom indicates how many South Korean troops have been dispatched to Afghanistan. A contingent of 200 soldiers with the last name of Dasan and Dongeui were dispatched Feb. 2003 to Dec. 2007. A second military contingent of 3400 soldiers had been dispatched Sept. 2004, and had been reduced down to 650 by the time of troop withdrawal in Dec. 2008.'
* unofficial translation of the chart above
“Yu reportedly explained the need for a large increase from 25 to 130 in civilian Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) personnel, and the necessity of sending around 200 troops and 50 policemen to protect them.” (Hankyoreh)
Great risk expected for troops redeployed to Afghanistan:
DP lawmakers ask Lee government for careful deliberations on South Korea’s participation in Afghanistan’s reconstruction
Posted on : Oct.31,2009 12:03 KST
The Lee administration and ruling Grand National Party (GNP) made official on Friday their decision to redeploy troops to Afghanistan. The decision, however, has increased the possibility that the troops deployed to the area, and even overseas Koreans, will be exposed to the threat of terrorism.
First, there is no guarantee against a repeat of the “Saemmul Church” incident, in which 23 South Koreans who went to Afghanistan to conduct short-term volunteer work for missionary purposes were taken captive by the Taliban and two killed. While a ban on travel to Afghanistan is still in effect, there are no strict means to prevent South Koreans from entering the country through third nations. In a meeting with the Democratic Party (DP) on Friday, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan confirmed it was difficult to determine if groups were still conducting missionary work in Afghanistan by gaining access through India or other surrounding countries. Observers say this is no different from an admission that the Lee government has no safety measures in place to address this issue. They add that while the primary responsibility for entering a country in which there is a travel ban rests with the individual, because the government ultimately has no choice but to negotiate for their release if they are taken captive, it inevitably becomes a governmental burden.
In the worst case scenario, if an unfortunate incident repeats itself, we could see a situation in which South Korea must once again withdraw its troops. In 2007, the Taliban demanded that South Korea withdraw its medical and engineering units as a condition for the release of the 23 hostages. Ultimately, the units were completely withdrawn by the end of 2007.
In addition, one cannot exclude the possibility that overseas delegations or South Korean expatriates might become targets of the Taliban. The Lee government has pledged that it will study measures to ensure their safety, but physically, it is difficult to fully protect expatriates who live overseas.
The safety of the units to be deployed in Afghanistan is likely to also become an issue. The safety of the troops being sent to Afghanistan against the Taliban, which based on its experience ruling Afghanistan is armed like a government and in the process of launching systemic attacks, is a concern. While speaking to the National Defense Committee of the National Assembly on Thursday, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young admitted there is a possibility that the units being dispatched could become involved in unavoidable firefights and suffer losses.
DP Lawmaker Song Min-soon pointed out that there is concern that if an undesirable situation were to occur, it could unsettle South Korea’s very participation in the Afghanistan reconstruction effort by dividing public opinion and weakening South Korea’s international prestige. He called on the Lee government not to rush into a decision in order to meet an artificial deadline, but instead hold transparent and wide-ranging discussions on the method, scale and timing of South Korea’s participation in Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
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© 2006 The Hankyoreh Media Company.
* Related article
[Editorial] Lee government must cancel troop redeployment to Afghanistan
Posted on : Oct.31,2009 10:50 KS