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FRONTLINE: Opium Brides

Airs Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: A young girl from Afghanistan. Unexpected victims have been caught in the crossfire of attempts to eradicate Afghanistan’s flourishing drug trade: young farm girls.

Unexpected victims have been caught in the crossfire of attempts to eradicate Afghanistan’s flourishing drug trade: young farm girls. Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world’s illicit opium. Opium farmers have long borrowed money from drug gangs, some with links to the Taliban, to subsidize their crops.

Now, as the Afghan government destroys their livelihood in an eradication program, the farmers find themselves in a horrifying situation: repay their debts or give their daughters to drug-traffickers, often to be used for sex.

Award-winning Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi reports on the harrowing story of families torn apart and the collateral damage of the counter-narcotics effort in Afghanistan in "Opium Brides."

Also, FRONTLINE crosses the border into Pakistan, where correspondents Stephen Grey and Martin Smith go inside “The Secret War” against the militants. They uncover evidence of covert support for elements of the Taliban by the Pakistani military and its intelligence service, the ISI.

At a safe house not far from where Osama bin Laden was killed, they make contact with one mid-level Taliban commander who tells FRONTLINE, “If they really wanted to, [the Pakistanis] could arrest us all in an hour.”

This program originally aired January 3, 2012.

FRONTLINE is on Facebook, and follow @frontlinepbs on Twitter.

Video

Preview: Frontline: Opium Brides

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Above: In "Opium Brides," FRONTLINE reports on the unexpected collateral damage of the counter-narcotics effort in Afghanistan.

Video

Frontline: When Afghan Girls Pay the Price for the Crimes of Others

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Watch Opium Brides on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Above: Shakila was just 8 years old when a group of men abducted her and her cousin from their beds as they slept in Naray district in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. She was held as a slave for a year — a punishment inflicted on her because an uncle had run away with the wife of a strongman associated with her abductors — before she managed to escape. The reaction of Shakila’s father, Alissa Rubin writes, “illustrates the difficulty in trying to change such a deeply rooted cultural practice: he expressed fury that she was abducted because, he said, he had already promised her in marriage to someone else.”