April 14, 2009
Pakistan's Taliban Generation
BY Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Editor's Note: "I believe in telling the truth," says filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy. Over webcam she tells us why she undertook such a dangerous journey in her native Pakistan to document how the Taliban are repressing young girls and recruitIng children to carry out suicide attacks. In this gripping interview, the filmmaker gives an update on some of the characters in her documentary and provides chilling behind-the-scenes details about her interview with a Taliban commander. She also offers field notes, below, from her reporting across Pakistan.
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A peace deal was officially signed this week between the Pakistan government and Taliban leaders in Swat Valley, a truce that guarantees the imposition of Sharia Law across this once peaceful tourist haven, home to approximately 1 million people. In return both militant and government forces have agreed to a ceasefire.
It's an uneasy settlement on many fronts, both for Pakistani moderates and for an international community that sees Pakistan as a critical security concern. The Taliban have been spreading their strict ideology across Swat and other parts of Pakistan for the last two years, often using violent reprisals. Through their growing network of religious schools and military training camps, they are raising a whole new generation of radicalized children.
In new developments, The New York Times just reported that the Taliban are now cutting deals with militant groups in Punjab, making inroads into Pakistan's most powerful and populous state.