Afghanistan bans 'insulting' Indian film

Afghanistan has banned an Indian-made film set around the fall of the Taliban after an outcry from the ethnic Hazara minority, which is described in the movie as "the most dangerous tribe" in the country.

Afghanistan bans 'insulting' Indian film

The ministry of information and culture said Saturday that the government film directorate had banned the purchase, selling, and showing of Kabul Express, which has yet to be released in Afghanistan but is available in pirated form.

The announcement follows angry objections from leaders in the Hazara community, including Vice-President Mohammad Karim Khalili and the head of the respected Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Seema Samar.

The 90-minute film tells of two Indian journalists who come to Kabul to cover the collapse of the Taliban regime in late 2001 and who are abducted by a Pakistani military officer fighting alongside the Taliban.

The Pakistani forces the reporters at gunpoint to drive him to the border to escape death at the hands of the Afghan mujahideen helped to victory by a US-led alliance.

In the mixed Hindi and Urdu dialogue, Hazaras are referred to as the "most dangerous tribe of Afghanistan" for whom "looting is their business."

"They would have looted and [stripped] you," one of the characters says according to a transcript of the film. "Then they would have hit you in the head with a nail. Then they would have sold your car in Pakistan."

The film also accuses Hazaras, who make up about 15 percent of the population, of rape and says that they are harder to escape from than the US aircraft that bombed the Taliban into defeat.

The comments appear to refer to atrocities committed on all sides of the brutal, ethnically charged four-year civil war that preceded the Taliban's capture of government in 1996.

The conflict left between 50,000 and 80,000 people dead in the capital Kabul alone.

Human rights groups are demanding that commanders from several ethnic groups face up to allegations of torture, mass murder, rape, and other abuses that still haunt the population.

Hazaras, from the Shiite minority, have suffered violent discrimination for generations in Afghanistan. Ethnic tensions still exist today despite efforts to push national reconciliation.

The culture ministry said in a statement announcing the ban that the film "has scenes, dialogues, and behaviors which are insulting to a tribe and in fact to all our nation."

It said that the Indian company, Camera Art, which made the film and director Kabir Khan had apologized when contacted by the ministry and promised to "edit out irritating and insulting scenes."

But Hazaras are outraged. Khalili, Samar, and former Hazara commander and current MP Mohammad Mohaqiq condemned the film at a rally of hundreds of people Friday. The film made Hazaras seem "barbaric," they said.

The Outlook Afghanistan newspaper reported Saturday that the independent Afghan TV had announced a 72-hour ban on Indian songs or films, a mainstay of Afghan entertainment, in protest.

An editorial in the Hazara-aligned newspaper described the film as a "poisonous orchestrated conspiracy" and warned that the "factional efforts" of the past should not be forgotten.

Samar said Saturday that the film was "immoral."

"I think the government should watch the film before giving permission for its release. If anything stands against the national interest of Afghanistan, it should not be permitted.

"I think the perpetrators should be brought to justice," she said.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16