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Spy agency monitoring foreign nationals who threatened Afghan evacuees: report

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Taliban fighters stand guard after an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 20. AP-Yonhap
Taliban fighters stand guard after an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 20. AP-Yonhap

By Yoon Ja-young

Korea's spy agency is monitoring foreign nationals residing here who have posted threats on social media against Afghan evacuees, a local newspaper reported Wednesday.

According to a report in the Donga Ilbo, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) is tracking foreign nationals who have threatened "Afghans of special merit to Korea" ― people who worked for Korean missions in Afghanistan and were later evacuated to Korea.

After the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, about 390 Afghans were airlifted here and are currently staying in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, preparing to settle permanently. The evacuees are comprised of Afghans who worked for the Korean embassy and other facilities run by Korea in Afghanistan, as well as their family members. The government recognized their contributions to Korea and granted them special residence permits.

According to the Donga Ilbo, one foreign national who posted threatening messages comes from a country in Southwest Asia and claimed that the Afghan evacuees "helped the U.S. kill Muslims," adding they should be "banned from entering the Muslim community in Korea."

The person also reportedly posted a poem lauding the Taliban. In the poem, written in Urdu, a language widely spoken in Pakistan and parts of India, he wrote, "Do not assume that I am praying for peace. I am an authentic soldier of my holy land," according to the Donga Ilbo. The newspaper added that the person claimed, in a separate social media message, that people in Afghanistan supported the Taliban.

More than 100 foreign nationals have been expelled for violating the Act on Counter-terrorism, which was adopted in 2016. Most of them collected funds for terrorists or were found to have been members of terrorist groups before coming to Korea.

After the Afghan evacuees arrived here, the NIS said a number of threats were made against them, according to the Donga Ilbo. It reported that an overseas spy agency recently notified the NIS that Korea is among the countries it believed were vulnerable to potential terrorist attacks.
Yoon Ja-young

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