Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Wins Emmy for “Children of the Taliban”

Posted on October 2, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Faris Islam, People, TV, Movies & Theatre
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Adil Najam and Faris Isam

ATP had first written about Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy back in January 2007 when the Toronto Star had named her as “Toronto’s Top 10 to Watch.” We had ended that post with the words, “Congratulations, Sharmeen… ATP will also be watching you in 2007 and beyond!” We have been doing exactly that. And we are delighted to report that Sharmeen has just won an Emmy Award for her gripping Frontline Documentary, “Pakistan: Children of the Taliban.

Congratulations, again, Sharmeen.

Amidst a sea of bad news and pessimism, the news of Sharmeen’s Emmy has come as a very welcome breeze of freshness. This is hardly the first milestone of Obaid-Chinoy’s career, as the journalist and filmmaker is also a TED Fellow and the first non-American winner of the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. (Watch Sharmeen’s Emmy winning documentary here).

Her documentary – which has only played to limited audiences in Pakistan because of security concerns – explores Taliban recruitment strategies, their effect on the youth and their methods to radicalize the country’s young and often dejected populace. (Visit Sharmeen’s website with details of this and other documentaries by her, here; watch Children of the Taliban, here).

But Sharmeen’s achievement also comes as a moment of grave personal loss and challenge for Sharmeen. TeethMaestro reports the details on his blog:

In a very touching moment, the day before, her father died of cancer in the UK where he was undergoing chemotherapy. Her message following the news of the death of her father on Facebook, posted practically 10 hours before the Emmy award ceremony, where she was in attendance, read “Only the good die young- you always said aba…love you” and later following the victory she dedicated her Emmy to her father by saying “Tonight’s Emmy win is dedicated to you aba…

We are moved by Sharmeen achievement, but even more by her loss. Our condolences to her at her father’s loss. We are sure her father was immensely proud of her. And we are proud of her too.

Our prayers are with you and your family in this time of loss. And our fond wishes to you for your achievement. As we had promised back in 2007, we will keep watching you and your work!

Thank you, Sharmeen.

39 Comments on “Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Wins Emmy for “Children of the Taliban””

  1. Junaid says:
    October 2nd, 2010 11:40 pm

    Congratulations Sharmeen. You make us proud.

  2. Humaira says:
    October 2nd, 2010 11:41 pm

    Condolences on your father’s death, Sharmeen. I am sure he was as proud of you as all of us are.

  3. Umar says:
    October 2nd, 2010 11:57 pm

    Keep it up, Sharmeen. And best wishes.

  4. Aliya says:
    October 3rd, 2010 7:43 am

    Good news on the Emmy. So sorry to hear about her father. My best wishes with her too.

  5. Zareen Niazi says:
    October 3rd, 2010 8:14 am

    Sharmeen, We are proud of you! Great work! Best wishes for your current and future projects.

    Condolences on your father’s death. I am sure he is / was proud of you as we all are.

  6. Nihari says:
    October 3rd, 2010 11:15 am

    her interview

    Listen to the sacrificial lamb comment

  7. Lahori says:
    October 3rd, 2010 11:47 am

    I am sorry to hear about her father. But on the film, Sharmeen is just a mouthpiece for US propaganda. So, yes, sure, they are giving her these awards.

  8. fawad says:
    October 3rd, 2010 12:01 pm

    its very sick and strane to see how some of u people just jump on ameircan propoganda badwagan,really congrates on what?for lieng and crazy by americans,people like u are really have no mind or soul.
    u are same as those peopel who were jumping up and down when obama became presedent like there MAMA become presedent.and now same obama is planing to expand fail ameircan war(it batter be called armed roberry!!!)
    in to pakistan,few days ago they shoot and kileld 3 pakistani sevice men with out any reason and so called pakistani talban are ameircan pupets and so called these terriosts are once mujhajeed ,who were hosted by american president in white house.
    where is your selfrespect people?

  9. N says:
    October 3rd, 2010 12:14 pm

    Great work Shermeen!

    Adil bhai I have a very serious question for you. I have noticed in your blog that whenever suicide attack or bomb blast or some other tragic event happens in Pakistan, next day you write an article to express your grief, anger etc. Your articles are filled with strong emotions and sane assessment of the events. This is a good thing!

    But I yet to see an article, condemning Drone attacks this year, by you? What about the NATO forces who crossed our border last week and killed three of our soldiers? What about the drone attacks in the last 2 weeks which killed more than 30 SUSPECTED militants? Were they really suspected militants (did they have labels on them saying that) or were they innocent? How come you did not manage to write any article on any of these events? Where does all your emotion go when it comes to drone attacks?

    You said in one of your articles “The Violence We Condone Breeds The Violence We Condemn”. Are you not condoning this Drone Attack violence?

    If I can feel so strongly this missing bit in your blog, imagine how a person, whose family members died in drone attacks and who happens to read your blog regularly, would feel about this. Please go through articles written this year by you, and let me know how many articles you dedicated to drone attacks? I ask the same question to readers of this blog.

    In one of your articles on bomb blasts your wrote this “How Inhuman Can a Fanatic Be?” How come I don’t see you ever writing this “How Inhuman Can a US Gov/Military Be?”


  10. AamirAli says:
    October 3rd, 2010 2:11 pm


    Drone attacks are happening because every domestic/international terrorist had made a home in FATA. Instead of focusing on real problem, you are outraged over side issues.

  11. Ben says:
    October 3rd, 2010 2:15 pm

    It is nice to write about her but I wonder how repeated drone attacks have escaped your attention, particularly the latest one targeting army post. The drone attacks have become a way of death not only for civilians but now also for military men in Pakistan. And these attacks not only target militants’ hideouts, these also rocket Pakistan’s military posts. The military which is sacrificing so that Toms, Dicks and Harries and their offspring in the land of milk and honey remain safe, is now target of the fury of all these Toms, Dicks and Harries. And still they ask; “why Pakistanis hate us in spite of our aid?” It is apparent that the American public is largely unaware of the easy-going attitude of American establishment which causes death and destruction elsewhere. But those who know do not like it. The question, however, remains; will the establishment of the US care unless the people of Pakistan practically demonstrate how much they dislike foreign elements threatening their security, and these foreign element include not only Arab, Uzbek and African fighters, these also include Americans of the Black-water variety and those sitting in Washington DC ordering drone attacks. The war in Afghanistan is almost over and so is American hegemony in this unipolar world. Someone somewhere is writing a New world Order yet again. Read more at:

  12. Talat says:
    October 3rd, 2010 2:55 pm

    I saw the documentary when it was first shown on Frontline and thinking that it was very very good and deserved an award. I am glad the Emmy folks had the same view.


  13. Ehtisham says:
    October 3rd, 2010 2:56 pm

    Excellent. Good news. I hope people can see this documentary. It is worth seeing.

  14. rana says:
    October 3rd, 2010 2:59 pm

    Great to read about the award. Very well deserved.

    Sorry to hear about Sharmeen’s father. Allah aap ko sabar dey.

  15. Adnan says:
    October 3rd, 2010 11:35 pm

    @N: Very simple, liberals like Adil are on payroll of US and are fed by them. How could Adil speak against US and its policy while living in US and enjoying the things?

    you are outraged over side issues.

    Wow! AamirAli seems a clone of Asif Ali Zardari who said to American that killing of Pakistanis due to drones does not bother him. WHo knows he is another Jiyala who considers his leader more than a God? Amir Ali makes me to imagine how “Kalay ANgraiz” of British Raj times would be used to kiss up Angraiz of that time to fulfill their wishes.

    Actually people like Aamir and Adil don’t care of suicide killings either. PPls killed in drones and suicidal attacks are Pakistanis so how can one mourn for one kind of Pakistanis while not others? It’s all about Money,N, rest doesn’t matter at all

    As far as Sharmeen is concerned, people like Sharmeen and Nadeem Paracha should be thankful of Talibans and Mullahs, because their “Daal Roti” is dependent on their enemies. How could Sharmeen win even a local award in the absence of Talibans? As we see tradition, the more you write against Islam or anyone who “looks” against modern Muslim, more you would be awarded.

    I bet Sharmeen could not get a penny if she would have made movie against India’s violence against Kashmir or Israel’s brutal violence against Palenstinians. Sharmeen is clever, she knows who’s gonna feed her. How could she strike the axe on her own feet? :-)

  16. TS says:
    October 4th, 2010 12:06 am

    @Adnan, Actually all of Pakistan is being fed by aid fromUSA and charity of the US taxpayers.

  17. Imtiaz says:
    October 4th, 2010 12:42 am

    Well done. Congratulations.

  18. Adnan says:
    October 4th, 2010 12:50 am

    This is very good news, not just for the filmmaker but because the subject matter of the documentary (which I saw many months ago) is very very important and a much more realistic depiction of the evilness of the Taliban than we usually see

  19. Baasim says:
    October 4th, 2010 1:07 am

    Can someone tell me where I can see the full documentary?

  20. Ammar says:
    October 4th, 2010 8:13 am

    An emmy for Pakistan is proud moment of us all, and more importantly by choosing to shed light upon the pertinent topic of child soldiers. The rehab of such children is crucial as they have been coerced in a battle and we must do everything possible to restore their innocence.

  21. A says:
    October 4th, 2010 8:15 am

    She is distorting the facts. This is not happening in every madrassa of Pakistan. but her documentary shows that every madrassa is controlled by Taliban. Secondly her way of talking about the Quran was also blasphemous like its just some book. She does deserve any Emmy because she is supporting their Agenda. But i m surprised how every one is so happy for her Emmy like its some heavenly thing.

  22. Saira Khan says:
    October 4th, 2010 8:18 am

    Sharmeen has won many many awards- For her films in Iraq about the US occupation, for her film about Kashmir and for her work in South Africa. Her bread and butter as Adnan would like us to believe does NOT depend on Pakistan or the Taliban- But you are so small minded Adnan, it is no wonder Sharmeen is world renowned and you my dear are not.
    Move off your lazy ass and do something instead of pointing fingers- And had you bothered to do ANY research you would have found out that the film is extremely critical of the US drone attacks- We dont deserve women like Sharmeen because men like you will always find fault- You make me sick

  23. Adnan says:
    October 4th, 2010 10:58 am

    I am afraid that so called feminists like Ms.Khan would have considered this an attack on women community.

    As far as qualification is concerned, I believe that qualification of Dr. Afia is matchless and all women who criticize her by labeling her “Not a Pakistani”, having qualification not even equivalent of dust of Afia’s shoe. Irony is, Both Sharmeen and Afia are living abroad and got education in US. Afia is terrorist because she wears scarf and a Hafiza and “committed a sin” to defend herself against a few strong American soldiers who fired at her while Sharmeen don’t wear scarf, promote a “Modern Islam” Agenda by ridiculing Islam herself and pampering the people who feed her.

  24. Sohni says:
    October 4th, 2010 11:44 am

    There is a saying n Punjabi.

    “Sheraan day puttar sher”

  25. Tahira says:
    October 4th, 2010 1:30 pm


    Afia is a terrorist because she went around supporting terrorists and providing actual help to them and participating in extremism. It has NOTHING to do with her hijab.

    I wear a hijab, and so does my mother. That does not make us terrorists. But someone who has been proven to support terrorists and has never once denounced terrorists or terrorism IS a terrorist. Whether they wear a hijab or not.

    Also, my congratulations to Sharmeen. I have not seen this documentary, but have seen some others by her and she makes all Pakistani and Muslim women proud by her acheivements. Just as all the Talibans make all Muslims ashamed of their activities.

  26. F K says:
    October 4th, 2010 2:22 pm

    I’m not sure why you have brought Aafia into this discussion but since you have, I would like to point out that she had her day in court. She had the opportunity to defend herself in front of a judge, jury and the media. She chose this opportunity to say “Jews are behind all of this.” If you were accused of a crime and you had a chance to defend yourself, is this what you would say?

    You and I both don’t know whether she is guilty or not, her behavior suggests that she is. However, she is lucky because the government of Pakistan is trying to bring her back to the country and she has thousands of people protesting for her. If she were gangraped, buried alive, or assaulted within Pakistan, no one would protest for her and no one would care about her. Maybe a minister or two would come out to defend burying her alive but that would be it. Or maybe the president would come out and say that getting raped is an easy way to get a visa to the west. But there would be no protests for her and she would not be discussed. There are many very religious Muslims in the United States who are hafiz haji etc who do not go through this. There are masjids, Islamic centers, Islamic schools being built all over the US which vary from fairly liberal to conservative. Why would the US arrest one woman for being religious (as you are stating) then allow all of this other activity. You represent what is wrong with Pakistan by deluding yourself by hyping up anti-US sentiments (FYI, Pakistan would not and could not function right now without US aid) while ignoring extremism and militancy which is destroying the country.

  27. N says:
    October 4th, 2010 10:25 pm


    Please don’t fight. I am just waiting to see when Mr. Adil is going to write something about DRONE ATTACKS. I ask all the readers of ATP just go and see for yourself how many articles are written condemning drone attacks in 2010. NONE by Adil bhai.

    Let me quote Adil bhai again “The Violence We Condone Breeds The Violence We Condemn”.

  28. Osman says:
    October 5th, 2010 12:05 am

    You can watch the full documentary here:

  29. Mrs. Sajida Aziz says:
    October 5th, 2010 12:19 am

    Sharmeen Obaid is an outstanding artist and journalist. I have now seen a number of her documentaries and all are very real and heartfelt portraits of tough subjects.

    Congrats to Sharmeen for her award and my condolences also for her loss. Her father would certainly be very proud of her today.

  30. Iqbal says:
    October 5th, 2010 12:30 am

    My prayers are with you Sharmeen. And my best wishes.

  31. Beena says:
    October 5th, 2010 12:46 am

    You are a brave woman, Sharmeen. And this is very well deserved. Congrats.

  32. Adnan says:
    October 5th, 2010 10:44 am


    I really enjoyed your e-Fatwa and your “godly” talent that you prophesied she “Is” a terrorist. I wonder while US media itself is saying that evidence presented against Aafia were not concrete enough, I wonder how a woman who is rather shot by soldiers became all of sudden. She has *not* been proven at all. Thanks for letting me know that you are taking your american friends and court more holier than anyone else.

    Thanks for letting me know you wear Hijab but that does not convert you automatically a god or a prophet. I have came across some crackpots hijabis and bearded men in life who turned out to be more worst than typical liberals.

    @F.K: trust me you ain’t making any sense. I don’t get what kind of attitude, I wonder how US courts are bein taken so godly here? You have not come across such torture she have faced otherwise you wouldn’t have made such comment

  33. Aisha Sarwari says:
    October 6th, 2010 12:28 am

    Congratulations Sharmeen!

  34. Adnan says:
    October 6th, 2010 7:10 am

    As Saira Khan’s claim about Sharmeen’s work against Indian and Israeli occupation of respective regions, I wish Ms.Khan would have made an attempt to Sharmeen’s official site( so that she would not have told lies on a public forum. How come Saira knows more about Sharmeen about Sharmeen’s work? I missing something ms Khan? :-)

  35. F K says:
    October 6th, 2010 11:26 am

    You are not understanding the point, perhaps you don’t want to. I’m not referring to any torture or evidence obtained from torture or whether the US justice system is fair or not. I am referring to what Afia herself stated in court in front of a judge, jury and media persons. Do you have anything to say about the women who are mistreated in Pakistan? Or is that an unimportant issue to you because you found a woman to protest for that you can blame the United States for instead of looking at our nation and the issues ignored by us?

    As far as drone attacks go, the drone attacks will go on until Pakistan does something about extremists using Pakistani soil to plan attacks. There is no country in the world that will sit by when people in Waziristan are planning to attack them and training for it without doing anything. While the tribal areas joined Pakistan under an agreement whereby the army would not be allowed in the region, the reality of the world is different today. As a nation, Pakistan is responsible for everything that happens on its soil. If Pakistan secures this area of militants, no country would have any need to come into Pakistan. Pakistan should take care of this problem themselves and not let other countries come in to attack within their borders, but until they do that, drone attacks will go on, whether we like it or not. If the Pakistan army cannot take care of these types of problems, then we seriously need to look at its funding, and divert more money to schools and hospitals. There’s not really any point of having an expensive armed forces who can’t fight and save all of their weapons for military parades.

    I’m not sure what part of my original post didn’t make sense to you. Maybe you should read it again slowly and try to understand what it means. It’s easy to say that “your post doesn’t make sense”, if it doesn’t can you refute any points I brought up in it? You’re trying to suggest that Afia was arrested because she was religious and wore hijab. Who exactly would belive this kind of childish and ridiculous argument (besides people like you)? Are you saying that she was the one religious person in all of Pakistan and she was arrested for that? Out of all of the practising Muslims who are active members of Islamic organizations, dawah programs and masjids in the United States, she was the only one the United States wanted to arrest?

    Keep in mind, defending burying women alive as a regional tradition and saying rape is a way to get a visa to the West were both said by prominent politicians in Pakistan. The former by a still serving member of parliament and the latter by the former president.

    Would you like to address any issue I brought up, perhaps without mentioning the United States, unless you think the US or RAW or Mossad has been sending agents to Pakistan to commit honor killings or throw acid on womens’ faces.
    If you have an intellectual repsonse, I would like to hear it. If you want to live in a delusional world where Pakistan has no issues at all and everything is someone else’s fault, go ahead. Just don’t be mad when journalists like Sharmeen point out the truth of what is going on.

  36. Adnan says:
    October 6th, 2010 12:24 pm

    @FK: while you don’t know me(which I assume), you can’t conclude whether I am too concerned about Aafia only. On my blog i have covered various genuine incidents(unlike fake Swat flogging video) like Mukhtaran Mai,the lady doctor who got raped in Balochistan and others so assuming that I am creating hype for this case does not make sense.

    As far as drone attacks go, the drone attacks will go on until Pakistan does something about extremists using Pakistani soil to plan attacks.

    In our society this attitude is called “Beghairti”. Perhaps I am living in era where things like Izzat,Ghairat and self-respect does not make sense. However by your logic, Pakistan should start disturbing India because India had been creating trouble for us for decades and your ‘drone mantra’ will just work to teach them lesson. Pls don’t be more angraiz than genuine angrez that they even start humiliating you.

    that Afia was arrested because she was religious and wore hijab. Who exactly would belive this kind of childish and ridiculous argument (besides people like you)? Are you saying that she was the one religious person in all of Pakistan and she was arrested for that?

    If you quit following Fox/CNN like media then you will realize that there’s a world beyond us. No, Aafia is not the only practiced women who have been sent to USA. If you try to read up papers from 2007-2008, you will find that how Supreme court took suo moto action against Musrraf regime for missing people case. Infact that was the core reason Iftikhar Ch was sacked. Aafia came in news because Yvonne Ridley,a british journalist who was captivated by Talibans and who road famous “In the hands of Taliban” revealed about existence of Aafia in Afghanistan. Do bother yourself to read Riddley’s book and it might help you to get enlightened about things which you usually digest via Western media.

    Anyways, several hundred Pakistanis are prisoned in Gitmo and other jails and they are “terrorists” in the sight of USA because they give priority to the religion than this world which has to end one day.

    sending agents to Pakistan to commit honor killings or throw acid on womens’ faces.

    So your mighty mind is going to blame Talibans for that too? :-)

  37. October 6th, 2010 3:11 pm

    Lahori, how does an award winning documentary from an accomplished and strong Pakistani woman derive such hostile allegations? Wouldn’t the proper response be to congratulate Sharmeen on exploring the non-ventured dark corners of Pakistani militancy and revealing this menace of underage exploitation and cowardice?

    This documentary achieves much success at revealing a side of Taliban that embarks upon Taliban’s recruitment strategies and the employment of impressionable youth into committing mass murder and suicide attacks for their personal propaganda. Please do perceive, that only within this year Taliban have committed 298 suicide bombings, have already claimed 1114 lives and injured a total of 2681 people. Often enough, maimed head of a barely fourteen or fifteen years old suicide bomber is found at the bombing site. Taliban, thereafter, call media and flaunt these attacks that were conducted by a young boy under insidious manipulation or crippling intimidation. Are the lives of these children any less important because they served some militant group’s half-truths? Despite these exploitive strategies, reasons are sought for Taliban actions and a documentary revealing their methodology is undermined. It is beyond comprehension that an interview from a young boy, who anticipates becoming a suicide bomber and killing hundreds of innocent civilians, can be semi-acceptable to any human being and is discarded as someone else’s responsibility. It’s rather obvious that Taliban’s intently kill anyone and everyone that stands in their way – Pakistani or not, weak or strong, rich or poor, nothing deters the havoc they wreak everywhere and they will use each and every single mean necessary to serve their skewed propaganda, even if it is at the expense of Pakistani youth.

    LCDR William Speaks
    United States Central Command

  38. ShahidnUSA says:
    October 7th, 2010 1:09 am

    Ms Sharmeen, Good Job! I love women like you.

    Without sounding mean just to let you know that I am sorry everytime I read your comments I get nausiated feelings.
    I really hope the feelings are mutual :)

    I “aint” mean to hurt your feelings.

  39. Adnan says:
    October 8th, 2010 9:53 am

    Taliban have committed 298 suicide bombings, have already claimed 1114 lives and injured a total of 2681 people

    Hey Military dude, even if the numbers are correct then killing is just a micro fraction of people killed by your army in 3 countries. It’s better you preach your own govt NOT to talk with Talibans to save their own pants in Afghanistan rather than lecturing here.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)