Local News

Pakistan teen says bin Laden's death is good for his country

Posted May 3, 2011 5:48 p.m. EDT
Updated May 3, 2011 7:39 p.m. EDT

— A teen from Pakistan is about to finish his junior year at Millbrook High School in Raleigh thanks to a State Department student exchange program that was started to build bridges with the Middle East after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Babur Farid, 17, is from Peshawar, a large city in northwest Pakistan just a three hours' drive from the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday. Farid said his American classmates have been many peppering him with questions this week.

"People were like, 'Are you sad about his death?'" Farid said. "No, I'm happy."

Farid said he has seen how the violence and atrocities perpetrated by bin Laden's terrorist group Al Qaida and the Taliban militia of Afghanistan have affected his people.

"(Bin Laden has) killed more Muslims than Jews. He was a top priority for our country, too, so I was very glad," he said.

It's a matter that hits close to home. Peshawar is near the Afghan border, an area plagued by lawlessness where terrorist groups have found strong support.

Farid said a band of criminals held his father captive for 55 days last April.

"Some people just kidnapped him for ransom. Me, my brother and my mom were just standing there. We didn't know what to do," he said.

Farid said his father was walking home from the clinic where he works when he was taken.

"These are just like regular criminals who need an opportunity... and this is the best environment for them," he said.

When he returns to his country, Farid said his hopes for the future are being pulled in two directions. For now, he thinks about becoming a doctor like his father, but sometimes his heart tells him to work for his country.

"To remove these bad elements from our society and let our people live in peace," he said.

While he came to the U.S. to "increase cross-cultural understanding," Farid said he was surprised by how open-minded and accepting Americans are and how his perceptions have changed during his time here. 

But he wants to make one thing clear, he joked.

"Our country is not a desert. People ask, 'do you ride a camel when you go to school?'" Farid said.

Farid returns to Pakistan in June.