— by ALEXA MILAN —
A lot of movies have been produced about Sept. 11, 2001, and its aftermath. But in the process, some of the stories of those affected by the Taliban pre-9/11 have been lost. In “Kabul 24,” director Ben Pearson examines one of those little-known stories that happened mere weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Narrated by Jim Caviezel (of “The Passion of the Christ” fame), this documentary recounts the harrowing story of eight aid workers in Kabul, Afghanistan, who were arrested by the Taliban on Aug. 3, 2001. The workers from the Germany-based organization Shelter Now International were accused of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, which the Taliban made a crime.
The aid workers from Germany, Australia and the United States insisted they never sought to preach Christianity but did show a family a film about Jesus when the family asked them to show it to them. Several Afghani workers were also arrested, but only a handful appear in the film with their faces blurred out for fear of being captured again.
The film features interviews with the aid workers as they recount being transported from one brutal prison to another, overwhelming feelings of fear, constant mental abuse and their faith being put to the ultimate test, all leading up to their release more than 100 days later on Nov. 15. The Afghani prisoners interviewed also tell stories of their torture, which are bound to resonate with audiences.
All of this is juxtaposed with Pearson’s footage from an increasingly unstable Afghanistan, which makes for very effective imagery to accompany the aid workers’ stories.
This is a well-made film that many people have probably never heard of, but if you can get your hands on a copy I would recommend watching it. It’s such an interesting story, and I’m glad Pearson took the time to tell it.
These people were in prison during the events of Sept. 11, afraid they would never see their families again or know a life outside of a Kabul prison. Their story is a compelling one, and though viewers know from the beginning they were all released since all eight prisoners are interviewed, the film is still very suspenseful.
I wish the epilogue had addressed how the prisoners dealt with life after they were released in more detail, but overall I think this is a very interesting and heart-wrenching film that people should definitely see if they get the chance.
“Kabul 24” was released on DVD Nov. 3. To learn more about the film, visit www.Kabul24movie.com.
Click here for an interview with the director of the film.
Follow Alexa Milan on Twitter at http://twitter.com/alexamilan.