All the news last week was full of some Koreans, mainly young girls who were going to help as teachers and nurses, were kidnapped by the Taliban.

Since then, two more Germans were kidnapped, the last one being a pregnant woman who worked for a German aid organization.  She even made a propganda video echoing their demands to release foreign Taliban prisoners.
So I was happy that today we read she was rescued by the Afghan police, with a little help from Norwegian Special forces. No shots were fired, and four of her kidnappers were arrested.

Kidnapping is often used by “insurgents” to raise money or pressure the government to release prisoners. The problem is that there is an overlap between “insurgents” and criminals and drug gangs, a link that is strong not just in Afghanistan (where drug gangs are becoming more dangerous than the Taliban) but in the Philippines or Colombia.

Foreign aid workers and missionaries are often targets,  since they are usually unarmed and don’t fight back.

For law enforcement, it is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” problem. Paying ransom allows kidnapping to become a local business, as we see in Colombia. But not paying ransom or trying to rescue them results in execution of the hostages, such as the 11 politicians recently executed in Colombia.

One answer is found in the Afghan raid, using the experise of special forces to help locate such gangs. A lot of such liason between locals and US or Australian Special Forces  is occuring with little publicity here in the Philippines and in Indonesia.

Finally, one needs to note that all terrorists are related to the war on terror (communists in the Philippines, India Nepal and Colombia are still a major problem).

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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