May 06, 2011 12:41
Four artillery shells detonated in and around the Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Charika in the northern Afghan province of Parwan on Wednesday. It was the sixth attack on the base so far this year and is especially worrisome since it was the first since the death of Osama bin Laden. There are 54 Korean civilians at the base involved in reconstruction activities in the region, while 350 troops attached to the Oshino unit and 40 police protect them. Fortunately, the latest attack did not cause any loss of lives or property damage, but there is no telling when another attack will happen.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the death of bin Laden has made the world a safer place, but even the U.S. government has urged citizens to refrain from traveling abroad and stay indoors in areas that are hotspots of anti-American activities. For now, it appears the world has in fact become a more dangerous place. The governments of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Taiwan have stepped up travel advisories, and the Korean Foreign Ministry has ordered its 155 overseas missions to heighten the alert while advising travelers to remain vigilant.
Korea is a staunch ally of the U.S. and home to a major American military installation. It has dispatched soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan, although those troops have been replaced with civilian support personnel. Radical Islamic terror groups, including al-Qaeda, have vowed numerous times to attack Korea. The government and the public must realize that they are targets and the situation could worsen.
Around 678,000 Koreans are expected to travel overseas over the holidays encompassing Children's Day and the Buddha's Birthday. Travelers should be careful to check the alerts that have been issued for their destinations. And there must be no daredevil evangelical activities in regions plagued by terror attacks and kidnappings involving radical religious groups. Such activities are like painting a large target on your own back.
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