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Afghanistan in cinema: Top 5 films on the disastrous War in Afghanistan

  • Published at 02:10 pm August 17th, 2021
A scene from "The Road to Guantanamo"| Collected

Here are the five films that have captured the horror of the Afghanistan War -

The 20-year Afghanistan War is finally coming to an end as the Taliban seeks to form government, following the messy US military withdrawal and the hasty escape of the Western-backed Ashraf Ghani leadership.

It was the horrific 9/11 attacks, which served as the casus belli to wage war in Afghanistan in a  bid to capture the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. However, the misfortunes bedeviling the Afghan people go far back in history to the Soviet invasion in 1979, when the United States funneled aid and weapons to the Mujahideens as part of its Cold War game plan and, as a consequence, created its own Frankenstein's monster.

What followed is a long calamitous war, resulting in the deaths of  2,448 American service men and women, 66,000 Afghan national military and police members, 47,245 Afghan civilians,  51,191 insurgents,  444 aid workers, 72 journalists and more.

Here are the five films that have poignantly sought to capture the Afghanistan War on screen:


Restrepo (2010)

Directed by Tim Hetherington Sebastian Junger, the 2010 film followed a year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan. The film features extraordinary insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights, and camaraderie as the soldiers painfully push back the Taliban. The directors claimed that they did not make a war advocacy documentary but sought to "capture the reality of the soldiers"



Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

Directed by Alex Gibney, the documentary exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan. From Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Gonzalez came unwritten orders to use any means necessary. The CIA and soldiers with little training used sleep deprivation, sexual assault, stress positions, waterboarding, dogs and other terror tactics to seek information from detainees. Many speakers lament the loss of American ideals in pursuit of security.

The Tillman Story (2010)

The film chronicles the life of the late Pat Tillman, who walked away from a multimillion-dollar contract with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals in 2002 to join the Army but died from friendly fire in Afghanistan. His death was later used as a propaganda tool to shore up the American war efforts.



The Road to Guantanamo (2006)

Part drama, part documentary, The Road to Guantánamo focuses on the Tipton Three, a trio of British Muslims who were held in Guantanamo Bay for two years until they were released without charge.


Charlie Wilson's War (2007)

A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

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