Running Time: 52 minutes
Director: Daniel Edge, Producer/Reporter: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Aired on: Channel 4, PBS, Arte & CBC
Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy investigates how the war on terror is creating a generation of child terrorists in her homeland – children prepared to kill both inside and outside Pakistan.
With the recent attack in Lahore on the Sri Lankan cricket team, last year’s massive suicide bombing in Islamabad and assault on Mumbai, Pakistan’s radical Islamists are bringing violence to the major cities of Pakistan and beyond.
Sharmeen travels across Pakistan to investigate how the far the Taliban has infiltrated her country. In the north she finds the Pakistan army, backed by the Americans, locked in the deadliest conflict, killing thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands.
At a nearby refugee camp, Sharmeen interviews two teenage boys who are best friends. Their local madrassa was hit by bombardments from the Pakistani army and American hellfire missil
es- whilst children were studying inside. One boy describes burying his cousin’s legs – the only body parts they could recover. One of the boys Sharmeen
meets was in that crowd – he now wants to join the Taliban. But his best friend blames al-Qaeda for the attacks – he wants to join the army. Driven into enemy camps, both boys pledge to kill the other if they face each other on the battlefield.
And Sharmeen meets a 14 year-old boy already recruited by the Taliban who describes life in one of its extremist madrassas that provide religious justification for terrorist attacks. Hazrat describes how he graduated from training in small arms to rocket launchers and how to execute a suicide attack in a car.
She visits a valley in the north west of Pakistan called Swat which was, until 18 months ago, a peaceful tourist attraction. She goes to one of 200 schools that have been destroyed by the Taliban. Amongst the ruins, she meets two former pupils, young girls who are angry that they are now forbidden to have an education and resentful that they will soon have to wear burqas. One tells Sharmeen: “Education is a ray of light and I want that light.” As they’re filming, a Taliban mortar lands in the neighbourhood and they have to flee to the relative safety of one of girls’ home.
In Peshawar, the main city in the north of two million people, Sharmeen meets some of the child victims of the violence at a specialist paraplegic hospital.