Kabul, late sixties. Unaccompanied women in mini skirts move confidently on the street, there is live jazz in numerous smoky clubs, you can see and feel pulsating life and democratic optimism. In the Kingdom of Afghanistan, a country of astonishing natural beauty, the signs point to emancipation in the cities. Amazing contemporary shots show cosmopolitanism and enlightened urbanity, the capital looks in many sections like Paris or London. In the countryside, on the other hand, the traditional patriarchy prevails in tribal structures. One country, two worlds.
In the next few years, the domestic political conflicts grow into violent tensions. One of the lines of conflict runs between western orientation and Marxist endeavors. With the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979 at the latest, Afghanistan appeared as a problem on the world political map. A nation that is in chaos after the Taliban takeover and the recent IS terrorist attacks at Kabul airport. The double attack cost the lives of at least 180 people. Including thirteen American soldiers, the remaining victims are Afghans who saw no future in their country under the Taliban.
The documentary series “Afghanistan. The Wounded Land ”by Marcel Mettelsiefen (“ The Children of Aleppo ”, 2014) and Mayte Carrasco with a wealth of material and numerous interview partners, including many female contemporary witnesses, in depth. You can watch the series free of charge in the Arte and ARD media libraries, and pay for it on Amazon Prime and iTunes. In addition, it will also be repeated a few times on linear television in the near future.
Genesis of Occupation and Terror
It is extremely worth seeing for everyone who tries to understand the current developments from their genesis. Fifty years of Afghan history and politics, occupation and terror, the persecution of women and efforts to promote democracy, “Afghanistan” takes a look at in just over two hundred informative, illuminating and harrowing minutes. Finds from numerous archives, current images and an abundance of interviews form something like a chronology of the tragedy of Afghanistan over the past fifty years or so. “The Kingdom”, “The Soviet Army”, “Mujahideen and Taliban” and “The NATO Troops” are the names of the consequences.
The talks with Afghan women politicians who risked their lives resisting the Islamist forces and who were actively involved in shaping the future of the country before the Taliban came to power are noteworthy. Part three and part four, with drastic threats from the Taliban and ultimately shown executions of women, prove the tyranny of the Islamists and cast great doubt on the current security assurances of the Taliban leaders.
Last year “Afghanistan” was shown on television for the first time, attracted a lot of attention and won several prizes this year, including the Marler Group’s Grimme Audience Award, which was presented on Friday. An indication that “Afghanistan” is not an illustrated history lesson for those interested in the matter, but an easily accessible, thorough, broad, yet extremely understandable documentation, assembled from multiple perspectives, with comments from (former) Afghan politicians and intellectuals, from Taliban leaders , Russian military, CIA agents, jihadists and war reporters, journalists and poets.
Mettelsiefen and Carrascos decades of knowledge and proximity to this country is unmistakable. With the impossibility of reporting freely, it is to be feared that we will learn far too little about the next chapter in this story.
Afghanistan. The wounded country is available in the Arte or ARD media library.