The Taliban in Pakistan


Uploaded by vice on Aug 2, 2012

Transcript:
[THEME MUSIC]
SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: Whenever Pakistan comes on the
news these days, the context is either floods, the Taliban,
political assassinations, or violence at the hands of
suicide bombers.
We wanted to see it for ourselves, so we got on a
plane and flew to Peshawar.
It's a city right on the border of the tribal areas, a
lawless region sandwiched between
Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Back in 2006, we came to the region to film a story about
the largest illegal gun market in the world in a town called
Darra Adamkhel.
[GUNSHOTS]
[GUNSHOTS]
[LAUGHTER]
SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: Our host was a guy named Naeem
Afridi who was the Director of Protocol for the provincial
government.

SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: On the recent trip, we
called Naeem again.
And as soon as we met, he explained that things in
Pakistan and Peshawar, specifically, had spiraled
downward into a cesspool of militancy and fundamentalism.

SUROOSH ALVI: Now, I was here four years ago, and it was
totally different.
And now, everyone's scared.

SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: We drove to the Pearl Continental
Hotel, the same place we stayed on our last visit.
SUROOSH ALVI: So, that's the driveway
coming into the hotel.
There was a car that drove in very fast, and there was a
bomb blast here six months ago.
And four years ago, those little walls didn't exist.
And there are about 25 to 30 armed
guards inside this compound.
I feel like I'm the only person staying here.

SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: After 9/11, the US bombed the hell
out of Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban.
The remaining soldiers scrambled over the porous
border into the tribal areas of Pakistan, and that's where
they started to plot their comeback.
What a lot of people don't realize is that because of all
of this, a second Taliban movement was formed called the
Pakistani Taliban or Tehrik-i-Taliban.
SUROOSH ALVI: You know, there's two Talibans--
the one in Afghanistan and the one in Pakistan.
And the ones here have created a lot of fear in Peshawar.
This is the office for The News.
It's one of the largest newspapers in the country.
We're here to meet Rahimullah Yusefzai.
He is the most respected journalist in the country.
He was the first guy to ever go visit with the Taliban and
interview them.
And he was also the last guy to ever get an interview with
Osama bin Laden, who he's interviewed twice.
And he is regarded as the foremost
authority on the Taliban.
And he's made some time to meet with us.
Could you explain the difference between the Afghani
Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban?
RAHIMULLAH YUSEFZAI: The Pakistani Taliban were
inspired by the Afghan Taliban.
They have the same values.
The Pakistani Taliban look to the Afghan Taliban for
leadership.
The Pakistani Taliban were happy to fight in Afghanistan
until the Pakistan government, under US pressure, started
action against them in Pakistan.
Then they started looking inwards.
They began fighting the Pakistani state.
So I think their main battle now is in Pakistan.

SUROOSH ALVI: So, buddy, this road looks familiar.
We've been on it before when we went to
Darra to the gun markets.
NAEEM AFRIDI: Yeah.
NARRATOR: And so why can't we go into the tribal areas?

SUROOSH ALVI: We're driving up to a site where there was a
bomb blast.
The Taliban tried to kill the police.
It's a checkpoint.
I'm standing here on the border of the tribal areas,
and just four kilometers that way is the gun market where we
filmed four years ago.
That area has been taken over by the Taliban.
And these guys here, they battle with the Taliban on a
regular basis.
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: So they're saying, in Darra, they do
knock off this gun, but this one has come from abroad.
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE].
OK, it's definitely locked.
I won't shoot the farmer on the tractor.
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]?
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
So this was built in 1986.
This is a very important piece of history here because this
is where all the problems stem from.
When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, they came in.
And there was a lot of leftover Russian artillery.
And since that time, this Kalashnikov culture has been
pervading Pakistan.
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: So overall, it's pretty heavy
vibes around here.
They're scanning suspicious-looking people and
trying to find guns, explosives, and what not.
There was a single bomb blast that blew up the market over
there, the mosque behind me, the armored vehicle over
there, and the police station, and about 50 people died.
One of the guys who died was wearing
this bulletproof jacket.
And the soldier who died, they buried him right here.
Yikes.
That freaks me out.
There's all kinds of shit falling out of it.
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: So the Taliban target the police here because
they're saying that they're infidels, they're anti-Muslim,
they're friends of the West, they're collaborators.
And that's why they become targets, when in reality,
they're practicing Muslims.
It's ridiculous.
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]?

MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: Good luck.
Naeem's telling me it's time to go.
I'm pushing my luck here.
OK.
RAHIMULLAH YUSEFZAI: I think that suicide bombing and the
use of IEDs--
Improvised Explosive Devices--
that's the two most effective weapons now available with
militants in this part of the world.
The young people who agree to become suicide bombers, I
think their numbers are really big.
They can even afford to send bombers to attack
insignificant targets.
They're all willing to die.
I remember one of the Afghan Taliban commanders, he claimed
once that he had about 5,000 suicide bombers.
The way they recruit people, the way they brainwash them,
that is very effective.
In fact, I remember once receiving a phone call from
Qari Hussain, the master trainer of suicide bombers.
So he said, I can turn a young man into a suicide bomber in
half an hour.
And I said, how come?
He said, it's very easy because there is so much anger
among Muslims against America, against the allies of the
Western countries like the Pakistani
state, Pakistani army.
He said, our villages have been attacked.
Our women and children have been killed.
So we can very easily motivate these families to supply us
fighters and suicide bombers.
And he then told me that you are an old man, but if you sit
with me for half an hour, I can turn you
into a suicide bomber.
So he's so confident of what he is doing.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: The Taliban puts
out videos like this.
They used to be available in shops around Peshawar, but
when I went to buy them, all I could find was Bollywood and
pornography.
So I got my local cameraman to put out some feelers, and a
militant ended up delivering a flash drive to my hotel that
was full of these videos glorifying suicide bombers and
successful missions and executions.

As if dealing with the Taliban, widespread
fundamentalism, and suicide bombers wasn't enough for
Pakistan, in July, 2010, terrible monsoons hit the
country, and 20% of it ended up underwater.
In a matter of months, more than 20 million people got
fucked by floods of biblical proportions.
The water cut a swath through the country, from the very top
to the very bottom.

MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: This is the aftermath of the floods, this
total devastation.
There's nothing left.
They've had no aid.
They have no money.
No one's helping them.
They're trying to pick up the pieces of their lives, pick up
these bricks and rebuild their homes.
They literally have nothing.

SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: To get a better sense of how the
government was responding to the floods, I arranged to meet
with the Bureau Chief of the Daily Times of
Peshawar, Iqbal Khattak.

MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: So all these homes around me have been
rebuilt by the Taliban.
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
SUROOSH ALVI: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI: So where the government fails, the Taliban
is stepping in and helping the rebuilding process, thereby
engendering goodwill and winning the hearts and minds
of these people.
How many other towns are there like this?
NAEEM AFRIDI: So many.
SUROOSH ALVI: So many.
And it's all the same story.
NAEEM AFRIDI: The same story.

SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: The US government's response to the
floods was to donate about $150 million in
aid, which is great.
But it's nothing compared to what the US is spending on
fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan--
about $165 million every day.
Part of that money is spent on remote-controlled Predator
drone planes used to bomb militants not just inside of
Afghanistan but also inside of Pakistan.
The drone plane attacks piss off not only the Taliban and
al-Qaeda, but everyone, from civilians to the government.
They often miss their targets, killing innocent people.
They're a blatant violation of the nation's sovereignty.
In 2008, Iqbal Kjattak met with the Taliban commander
Baitullah Mehsud, who explained to him the effects
of the American drone attacks.

SUROOSH ALVI: We've been in Peshawar for a couple days,
and I'm just trying to wrap my brain around everything that's
going on here.
There's many groups and factions and splinter groups.
Within the Taliban itself, there's probably 30 militant
groups under the Tehrik-i-Taliban umbrella
organization.
Then there's al-Qaeda.
We are just driving into a neighborhood
called University Town.
It is where Osama bin Laden used to live, and it's where
he started al-Qaeda.
It's the birthplace of al-Qaeda.
And from here, we're going to go meet with the
Jamaat-e-Islami, who are a very established, conservative
Islamic movement.
And they are al-Qaeda friendly.
MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: The more people I interviewed, the
clearer it became.
The Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan have abandoned the
holier pursuit of imposing strict
Islamic law in the region.
For now they're simply young, pissed off, and vengeful
beyond belief.
RAHIMULLAH YUSEFZAI: You need religion to motivate people.
In Sharia, or Islamic, law, jihad, these slogans are very
handy, very effective.
But I think that the suicide bombings, even the attacks
against the security forces, the police, the Pakistani
state, the ruling party politicians,
is an act of revenge.
It's just plain revenge.
There would be people who would be radicalized because
of the policies of the state, because of this alliance with
the US, because of American policies in the region.
That's why, even if there's a solution in Pakistan, I don't
think the problem will end because there's a fallout on
Pakistan of whatever is happening in Afghanistan.
SUROOSH ALVI NARRATING: So after nine years and $370
billion spent fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan,
the US still seems to be pretty far off from
accomplishing much besides pissing off the entire region.
And all this is inspiring a whole new generation of
militants and suicide bombers in Pakistan, a country that
has been considered for years to be a key ally
in the War on Terror.
So it seems to me, they've got a bigger problem now.
[THEME MUSIC]