Pakistan After Bin Laden
Since 2006, Vice has closely followed and chronicled the growing political turmoil in Pakistan, when founder Suroosh Alvi visited the infamous gun market of Darra Adamkhel.
This Webby award-winning short film precipitated another visit in 2010, during which Vice documented a dramatic increase in regional violence and a campaign by militants to win hearts and minds after the worst flooding in the country’s history.
A year later, as the country was reeling from a marked increase in terrorist violence, Alvi revisited Pakistan in the wake of its latest geopolitical shock: the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Visiting the al Qaeda leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Alvi speaks to a neighbor — a young boy who played with the children living at the bin Laden house. Alvi also travels to a university to see what undergraduates think about having lived next to America’s most wanted man for the past five years. Unsurprisingly, their concern lies less with the proximity of bin Laden than the chaos that his death has provoked.
Although the controversy over whether Pakistani intelligence colluded with bin Laden has consumed American media coverage of the killing, journalists in Pakistan are busy covering the onslaught of violence that has broken out since the raid.
Anti-American sentiment is running higher than ever, and this turbulent nation has larger issues than bin Laden’s death. Indeed, according to a recent YouGov poll, more than half of Pakistanis believe that the person killed in Abbottabad wasn’t even bin Laden.
Post-Osama bin Laden Pakistan has seen a dramatic spike in violent attacks from the Pakistani Taliban. In an exclusive telephone interview with a Taliban spokesman, Alvi hears first-hand about their ongoing retaliation campaign for bin Laden’s assassination, their goal to create a fundamentalist Islamic state and how they view the war in Afghanistan.
Finally, Alvi revisits the Darra Adamkhei gun market, to find that an eerily quiet ghost town has replaced the teeming bazaar thanks to the Taliban’s bomb attacks, kidnappings and killings. The disintegration of the largest gun market in the world is only a microcosm of Pakistan’s instability and uncertainty.