Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi put out a plea seeking help from the international film community for those who are stranded in Afghanistan, after the Taliban began gaining control over several parts of the country. Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap subsequently shared her plea on social media.
In the letter she shared on Twitter on Friday, Karimi, the first female chairperson of the Afghan Film Organization, or Afghan Film, the country’s only state-owned film company, said, “I write to you with a broken heart and a deep hope that you can join me in protecting my beautiful people, especially filmmakers, from the Taliban.”
Karimi, whose films have premiered at the Venice Film Festival, among others, went on to explain the current situation in Afghanistan and highlight how the Taliban’s control is especially detrimental to women and artists in the country.
“The Taliban have gained control of so many provinces. They have massacred our people, they kidnapped many children, they sold girls as child brides to their men, they murdered a woman for her attire, they gauged the eyes of a woman, they tortured and murdered one of our beloved comedians, they murdered one of our historian poets, they murdered the head of culture and media for the government,” she said, adding that people affiliated with the government have been assassinated, with some hanged publicly.
“If the Taliban take over, they will ban all art. I and other filmmakers could be next on their hit list. They will strip women’s rights, we will be pushed into the shadows of our homes and our voices, our expression will be stifled into silence. In just a few weeks, the Taliban have destroyed many schools and 2 million girls are now forced out of school again,” Karimi continued.
There have been reports that during Taliban’s rule in the 1990s, women were confined to their homes and had to give up their jobs, while girls were not allowed to attend school.
Karimi added, “We need your voice. The media, governments, and the world humanitarian organizations are conveniently silent as if this ‘Peace Deal’ with the Taliban was ever legitimate. It was never legitimate. Recognising them gave them the confidence to come back to power. The Taliban have been brutalizing our people throughout the entire process of the talks. The world should not turn its back on us.”
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday as the militant organization entered major Afghan cities, including Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat, among others.
Following this, the capital city Kabul also fell into the hands of the Taliban on Sunday and talks are reportedly on with the government regarding the transfer of power.
Several Afghan citizens and foreign nationals tried to flee the country on Monday as chaos reigned in the capital.