AFGHANISTAN, A STATE OF DENIAL
Director(s): Claire BILLET – Writer(s): Alberto MARQUARDT, Eric DE LAVARENE, Claire BILLET Contact Print page
The Afghan war shaped the start of the 21st century. Through the personal accounts of key players and participants - Afghans, Americans, French and Pakistanis – we’ll be shedding light on America’s longest and most expensive war. The Western denial to acknowledge poor political choices and mistakes, coupled with the resilience of the Taliban, led to their victory against the most powerful army coalition since WWII.
Sept. 2021, the American army pulled out of Afghanistan with a feeling of unfinished business: Bin Laden was dead, Al-Qaida largely diminished, but ISIS has taken hold and the Taliban movement is back in power.
Despite $3.5 billion invested by the United States, the 20-year long nation-building strategy came to an end in a matter of days. The Afghan army vanished, almost without a fight, triggering the dramatic escape of hundreds of thousands of people from Kabul’s airport.
When Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled, a house of cards collapsed, exposing the extent of the country’s dependency, corruption and the self-interest of the ruling elite, the warlords and the military.
After two decades of war, those who repeatedly warned of a possible return of the Taliban are left with a sense of tremendous waste… We need to understand how we got there.
The Afghan war is a case study. For years, the US government gave us one choice: “You’re either with us or against us.” There was no room for analysis, for questioning the modus operandi or for even setting a deadline to the U.S. and Nato military intervention. It’s a painful reminder of the contradictions that define Western diplomacy. For, in the end, everyone agreed that the only way out of the vicious circle was to strike a deal with the Taliban.
This change of regime has offered us the possibility to listen, to hear what the « other half » has to say. The Taliban belong to the unheard voices of Afghanistan, alongside women and men who stayed in the country, by choice or necessity. They were consumed by history. All of them together, they form the people of Afghanistan. After the Western escape, they were left with emptied buildings and growing famine. One million civil servants lost their salaries overnight. It seems they are not worthy of any help since the country’s new masters do not meet our Western values.
We wish to give them “a face” in order to grasp the genuine consequences of Western policies on a wide range of issues over this long period, as seen from their own perspective…that of the decision-makers or the simple citizens.
After their earlier film, THE PRICE OF REVENGE, Eric De Lavarène and Alberto Marquardt, join forces with director Claire Billet…