Afghan director Sahraa Karimi calls on international film community for support of Afghanistan’s film workers: “They will ban all art”

"Please help us get this world to care about what is happening to us"

Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi has called on support from the international film community amid crisis in the country.

The Taliban took effective control of the country over the weekend after entering capital Kabul following rapid gains throughout Afghanistan in recent weeks.

Karimi, who is also the director of the state-run Afghan Film, has been sharing updates on social media as the Taliban closed in on the capital, including one of her running through the streets distressed.

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In another post, she said: “Taliban surrounded Kabul, I were to bank to get some money, they closed and evacuated; I still cannot believe this happened, who did happen. Please pray for us, I am calling again: Hey ppl of the this big world, please do not be silent , they are coming to kill us.”

Karimi has now shared an open letter, sharing dark warnings of the Taliban banning “all art” and urged the film communities to raise awareness and help protect artists. The post has since been shared by the likes of directors Mark Cousins (Women Make Film), Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (The Tashkent Files), Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur) and Leena Manimekalai (Maadathy: An Unfairy Tale).

“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,” she began, before detailing some of the horrifying brutality going on under the Taliban.

Karimi added: “It’s a humanitarian crisis, and yet the world is silent.

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“We have grown accustomed to this silence, yet we knew it is not fair. We know that this decision to abandon our people is wrong, that this hasty troop withdrawal is a betrayal of our people and all that we did when Afghans won the Cold War for the west.

“Our people were forgotten then, leading up to the Taliban’s dark rule, and now, after twenty years of immense gains for our country and especially our younger generations, all could be lost again in this abandonment.”

Karimi went on to ask for the world’s voice, adding: “Everything that I have worked so hard to build as a filmmaker is at risk of falling. If the Taliban take over they will ban all art. I and other filmmakers could be next on their hit list.”

“I do not understand this world. I do not understand this silence. I will stay and fight for my country, but cannot do it alone,” the director continued.

“I need allies like you. Please help us get this world to care about what is happening to us. Please help us by informing your countries’ most important media what is going on here in Afghanistan. Be our voices outside Afghanistan.”

Karimi added: “The world should not turn its back on us. We need your support and your voice on behalf of Afghan women, children, artists, and filmmakers. This support would be the greatest help we need right now.”

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