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Kandahar - from "Inside Afghanistan" - www,





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Published on Dec 14, 2006 - interview with two Mujahedin prisoners and the Afghan garrison commander, and firefight at an Afghan army outpost in Kandahar.

Shot in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Spinbuldak, and the Afghan countryside in 1987, Inside Afghanistan" (57 min) is a look at the *other* side of the war in Afghanistan - the Communist government and its supporters.

Inside Afghanistan opens with an examination of the war as seen by the Afghan army. After a ride with an armored column transporting supplies from the Soviet border. We have tea with an Afghan captain, his Russian wife, and their two sons, as he explains the bond he feels with the other Afghan officers who trained in the Soviet Union. An Afghan colonel explains how these Soviet-trained army officers led the "revolution" that brought the Communists to power. At a tank training ground, an officer extols the "revolution".

The documentary then looks at the educated, urban modernizers and reformers who saw the "revolution" as a way to bring Afghanistan into the modern world, even if on the Soviet model: women teachers and medical students, doctors at a children's hospital, boys at a Soviet orphanage, government officials, party members, and a rare interview with then- President Najibullah himself.

The second half of the film moves to the countryside, where we visit several groups of villagers who had left the Mujahedin and were fighting on the government side under the same khans (clan landlords) who earlier had led them in their fight against the government. In a peaceful village square, a group of villagers discuss their needs, unaware of the camera, while in another village a government propaganda team entertains and passes out gifts. Under attack by Mujahedin at a remote outpost, we go to the nearby artillery base, which responds with a devastating barrage of rockets and howitzers. In the Kandahar prison, we meet two Mujahedin POWs, who in spite of torture tell us courageously that they still believe they were right to fight. Finally, at a meal in his home, the governor of Kandahar province breaks down in tears as he tells us of the deaths of his sons in this long and bloody war.

"Inside Afghanistan" underscores the chasm between the urbanized, Westernizing supporters of the Communist government and the traditional Muslim world of the villages, still based on clan and feudal ties. Without preaching, the film breaks the stereotypes of Communist "puppets" and heroic "Freedom Fighters" (now "terrorists") to give the viewer a new understanding of the tragic and complex struggle for change in Afghanistan - a struggle that is far from over.


Ethnoscope Film & Video


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