The Return of the Taliban

About the Film:

FRONTLINE reports from the lawless Pakistani tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and reveals how the area has fallen under the control of a resurgent Taliban militia. Despite the presence of 80,000 Pakistani troops, the Taliban and their supporters continue to use the region as a launching pad for attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Off limits to U.S. troops by agreement with Pakistan's president and long suspected of harboring Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, the area is now considered a failed state. President Pervez Musharraf tells FRONTLINE reporter Martin Smith that Pakistan's strategy, which includes cash payments to militants who lay down their arms, has clearly foundered. In a region little understood because it is closed to most observers, FRONTLINE investigates a secret front in the war on terror.

Watching the Film:

Teachers can either assign the film for viewing as homework or show the film in class. Suggested discussion questions are provided. The lessons and activities in this guide can be used in the classroom without having viewed the film.

A Note to Teachers:

The lesson plan examines the growth of lawlessness in the tribal regions of Pakistan and asks students to propose solutions to this problem. The lesson plan can be used in its entirety or teachers can select individual activities to accommodate instructional time and student abilities.

For classes in social studies, language arts, current events and history; Grade level 9th - 12th.

Discussion Questions:

This guide includes a list of questions for students to discuss after viewing "Return of The Taliban."

Featured Lesson Plan:

"Conflict in Pakistan's Tribal Areas: Causes and Solutions"

Students will:

Additional Lesson Ideas:

Afghanistan: 12 Years of Violence
Students can examine how events in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s led to the rise of the Taliban and the role that the United States played in this development.

Taming Terrorism
Students will learn about international agencies working to eliminate terrorism and evaluate their effectiveness.

The Roots of Terrorism
This guide contains nine classroom activities to explore the roots of terrorism, United States foreign policy and Islamic fundamentalism.

Additional Resources:

An annotated list of relevant Web sites.

Purchasing the Film:

"Return of the Taliban" can be purchased from Shop PBS for Teachers. Also, teachers and students can watch the film streamed in its entirety on FRONTLINE's Web site: http://www.pbs.org/frontline/taliban/


This teacher's guide was developed by Simone Bloom Nathan of Media Education consultants. It was written by Patricia Grimmer, educational consultant. Advisers were Ellen Greenblatt of University High School, San Francisco and Greg Timmons, curriculum writer and educational consultant.