The tragedy of Afghanistan is a complex issue that’s been decades in the making. In fact, their history of conflict may almost seem cyclical, going through violent upheavals followed by tense periods of enforced ‘peace’. To get a better understanding of this crisis and suffering, here are a few movies and documentaries you could watch.
1. The Road to Guantanamo
This 2006 docu-drama follows the lives of three British Muslims who were captured without charge by American forces in 2001, and incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay for almost three years. It stars Oscar-nominated actor Riz Ahmed.
2. Zero Dark Thirty
One of the few American movies about Afghanistan that had a more balanced approach to the portrayal of their own atrocities, this film’s plot revolves around the CIA’s decade-long search for Osama Bin Laden.
3. In This World
This 2002 British docudrama directed by Michael Winterbottom tells the harrowing tale of two young Afghan refugees trying to make it from a refugee camp in Pakistan to safer shores in London.
Based on a period of time when the Taliban imposed extreme restrictions of women, this film tells the story of a young daughter who disguises herself as a boy to monetarily support her mother.
5. Earth and Ashes
This 2004 film directed by Atiq Rahimi tells the story of an elderly man and his deaf grandson traversing the war-torn badlands of Afghanistan to deliver the news to his son that his family has all but disappeared.
6. Taxi to the Dark Side
This documentary may be directed by an American (Alex Gibney), but that doesn’t mean it shies away from shining a glaring lens at the use of brutal torture by the American military. The crux of this specific documentary focuses on an Afghani taxi driver who was taken for questioning, before being found dead of torture 5 days later.
7. The Breadwinner
This animated short-film is based on the novel of the same name by Deborah Ellis. It tells the story of Parvana, a young girl in Taliban-ruled Kabul who becomes the sole breadwinner of her family after her father is killed. To do this however, she must dress up as a boy.
8. The Patience Stone
Based on the novel of the same name by Atiq Rahimi, this film is based in Afghanistan, and follows a woman confessing all her secrets and dreams to her husband of 10 years, who now lies in a vegetative state.
This 2001 film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf follows an Afghan woman living in Canada who must journey through the perilous, war-torn Afghan wastelands to find her suicidal sister.
Watching some of these movies might give you a minuscule understanding of the suffering that the Afghani population has had to endure for far too long.