Afghan film director Sahraa Karimi’s plea: ‘Every day I dream that there will be a call and we can go back’

By Peony Hirwani
AFP via Getty Images

Afghan director Sahraa Karimi, who fled Kabul last month after the Taliban took over the country, has revealed that she dreams to return one day.

The 36-year-old director has been trying to get answers as to whether or not she still holds her position as the first female chairperson of the Afghan Film Organisation.

However, she faces difficulty as the government is now controlled by the Taliban.

“This is the reality. They don’t tell me that I am not the general director [sic] of Afghan Film but they don’t tell me anything else,” Karimi said, during a virtual appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival.

She also expressed that she would go back to Afghanistan if allowed to continue her work. The screenwriter fled Kabul last month with help from the Slovak Film and Television Academy.

“Every day I dream that there will be a call and we can go back,” she said.

Karimi is planning to turn her experience of fleeing Kabul into a fiction film.

“I’m a filmmaker. The only way, at least for a while, to forget this trauma that I experienced is to write it and to make it into a film,” the director told DW.

Karimi said she blames the pre-Taliban Afghan government for not providing enough support to the culture industry, pointing out how cinema would have changed everything in the nation.

“One of the biggest mistakes this past 20 years of the government of Afghanistan is that they didn’t support art and culture and cinema. They didn’t even build one cinema in Afghanistan,” she said.

“If we had real cinema, if we had real production, if the private sector and government-supported filmmakers to make a film industry, then we wouldn’t be in this situation right now.”

Last month, Karimi’s video of running around Kabul as Taliban forces took control of the city, went viral.

She begged for help on social media, saying the militants were coming to “kill us.”

“Please pray for us, I am calling again,” she wrote on social media. “Hey people of this big world, please do not be silent. They are coming to kill us.”

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