According to reports out of western Afghanistan, two Italian soldiers have been kidnapped by members of the Taliban – many believe they are likely associated with the Italian military intelligence service SISMI (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare).
This comes in an area that has not been known for recent violence. Now we have two members of the Italian contingent possibly kidnapped. Why would two Italians be kidnapped in this area? Perhaps it is because Italy has gained the reputation as the country that pays ransoms for the release of its nationals, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their past dealings with insurgent hostage-takers:
In July of this year, the Taliban kidnapped over 20 South Koreans, two Germans and five Afghans. Why? They think kidnapping work. Why not – Italy caved in and paid money and announced a troop withdrawal from Iraq, Karzai released a senior Taliban official as part of the Mastrogiacomo deal, and South Korea paid money. If you are the Taliban, the message is that kidnapping works.
The Taliban has been taking heavy casualties since the spring, after their announced “offensive.” Unable to match US and NATO forces in battle, they have resorted to roadside bombs, suicide bombing and kidnapping as their primary means of insurgency.
The Italians have created this problem for themselves. When the Iraqi insurgents or the Taliban see an Italian, they see a paycheck walking.