Many of us believe true evil, in its worst form, is the stuff of fiction or horror movies. It is here that vampire bats or crazed killers unleash terror on innocent victims. But today it seems we live in the very midst of just such evil — illogical, immoral and cruel in its nature. There is, after all, no other way to describe the threat made by the Taliban to kidnap foreign aid workers. These persons, some of whom reached the country’s most remote areas before our own military forces or other agencies could, did not really need to come here. They could simply have left us to our own plight. The fact they have chosen to do so is commendable; their decision to stay despite the dangers they face all the more so. The UN has stressed it has every intention of continuing its work — undeterred by the threat. These are brave words. But, inevitably, following the US warning regarding the Taliban threat, precautions are being taken. Security protocols are being stepped up — and this will mean only one thing: A reduction in the ability of humanitarian workers to reach desperate, flood affected people and to deliver to them the food, water, medicines and other amenities they urgently need. At present, eight million people in various parts of the country are reported by the UN to be in need of immediate help. Anything that acts to impede the processes that can deliver this to them should count as a sign of aggression against the country — no less grave than treason.
The Taliban are guilty of just this. They have once more demonstrated they have no scruples and no concern for people. It is also ironic that a country known for its hospitality should harbour elements who turn against foreign visitors in so harsh a manner. We now need to somehow demonstrate to the hundreds of Western aid workers present in our country that we have no sympathy for organisations who act in this manner and will do everything humanly possible to ensure the safety of every foreigner presently here.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2010.