When NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan the Afghan National Army (ANA) took over control of Helmand Province, an extremely dangerous region where attacks by Taliban fighters are the order of the day. Security, much less peace, would seem to be unattainable; it is even difficult to find a common language in a country where everyone mistrusts each other. The directors of this film accompanied an ANA company during a year of frontline duty in Helmand. The soldiers are paid irregularly, there are not enough supplies and their equipment is substandard. They cannot fight a war with the equipment left behind by the ISAF. Saeed Taji Farouky’s cinemascope images lend an epic dimension to the soldiers’ daily lives, and the private moments and bloody battles feel like a metaphor for the fate of this war-torn country. In off-screen interviews, the protagonists talk about their doubts, their hopes and their dreams. At the same time the films shows the absurdity of the conflict from the point of view of these Afghan soldiers, in a country whose government is at the mercy of an enemy that even NATO troops did not succeed in defeating in almost thirteen years.
by Saeed Taji Farouky, Michael McEvoy
United Kingdom 2015