An Afghan filmmaker currently in Canada said she is in deep pain after the Taliban takeover of her country and a hasty U.S. exit.
“I wake up every day with so much pain in my heart. I feel I can’t breathe, I feel my heart is pounding,” Diana Saqeb Jamal told Global News.
“Then I remember what happened to my country, what happened to my city and to my people. I remember that we have been sold out to the terrorists.”
Saqeb Jamal was the owner of a film house in Kabul and has directed a number of films featuring Afghanistan, one of which was included in 2019’s Venice International Film Festival.
She has been watching in horror as the Taliban has taken over territory after territory in Afghanistan after U.S. forces exited the country they have occupied since 2001, a move Saqeb Jamal said has been orchestrated poorly.
“The U.S. could pull out, but they didn’t have to sell us out to the terrorists,” she said, referring to the Taliban.
“They handed over my country to the terrorists.”
She said her family and friends currently in Afghanistan are all afraid and in hiding, frantically burning records and destroying “everything they have from the past 20 years.”
“They don’t have any hope for the future,” she said. “They lost their income. They can’t go to work. I don’t know what will happen next.”
Despite promises from the Taliban to rule more moderately than in the past, Saqeb Jamal does not believe them.
“Can you believe that a terrorist group can change overnight? No sane person will believe that,” she said. “No, they haven’t changed.”
She said the Taliban is playing nice for now to garner international recognition, but will return to their old ways — or worse — once the spotlight is off them.
Despite the threat from the Taliban and the closing of her film house, Saqeb Jamal is committed to going back to Kabul in September to document what is happening on the ground.
“I’m a filmmaker, I cannot hold a gun. But I have to fight with my words, with my camera, with my pen,” she said.
“I have to go back. It’s my home.”
When asked how others can help Afghans, Saqeb Jamal said not to send money, but to educate yourself on the country’s history and how superpowers have used it as a battleground for decades, and to “not be silent.”
“Don’t recognize Taliban as our government. We don’t accept them,” she said.
If the Taliban are left to rule, Saqeb Jamal warns that soon it will be everybody’s problem.