FRONTLINE: Opium Brides
Airs Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
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.
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.