PESHAWAR: A young boy dressed in black bids farewell to other children standing in a queue. The boy, around 12 years old, has his face covered with a black cloth. The children standing in the queue appear to be around four to 10 years of age.
After embracing those bidding him farewell, the young boy walks on. A few steps later, a man dressed in white gestures for him to stop. The boy impersonating a suicide bomber lifts his shirt and the man trying to stop him flees the scene. The young boy then proceeds towards a group of three boys, where another boy tosses dust in the air, creating an illusion of smoke, following the ‘pretend’ blast.
The boys then fall to the ground acting as though they were dead. Other boys rush to the scene to help the ‘injured’. A Pashto Jihadi poem blares in the background.
This is how the one-minute-24-second-long video that is making the rounds on Facebook kicks off.
The video was posted on Facebook last week. The person who posted it for the first time, Ahsan Masood, when contacted through Facebook, said he was unsure about the origins of the video. There is no clear indication of where it had been filmed.
Masood, a resident of Tank district, currently living in the UAE, told The Express Tribune that he had uploaded the video on Facebook through a cell phone that belonged to a taxi driver in Ajman.
Masood said that the taxi driver was a Wazir tribesman, but was uncertain whether he belonged to South or North Waziristan.
The video highlights the impact of violence and insurgency on children, and is the first of its kind. It shows that the militancy of the Taliban has scarred the culture of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, going so far as to seep into the games children play with each other.
Adnan Rashid, a resident of Swat told The Express Tribune that Fauji and Talib is a game that is extremely popular with the young ones. Rashid said two of his nieces regularly play a game of ‘curfew and operation’ at home.
Last year, on the eve of Eidul Azha, many children in Peshawar went around impersonating the military and militants on the streets.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2011.