Fatima in Kabul

As the Taliban nears Kabul, 20-year-old Fatima’s life changes before her eyes. Unable to leave home, she turns to her phone and confides in an Afghan friend in Canada.
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Fatima in Kabul

Short Docs

Watch Fatima in Kabul on YouTube.

In the summer of 2021, U.S. and NATO troops completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan. As the Taliban moved into Kabul, the world wondered what life would be like for women under their rule.

Fatima in Kabul shows how life changed dramatically for one 20-year-old woman.

Life has never been easy for Fatima.

In 2017, she lost her mother to a suicide bomb attack, and was left to care for her ailing father and younger sister, who is disabled. Still, she completed secondary school and was accepted into a university theatre program. Fatima embraced whatever freedoms she could. She came of age during Afghanistan’s rebuilding years and grew up with technology at her fingertips; like most teenagers, she spends a lot of time on her phone.

In the documentary Fatima in Kabul, we first meet Fatima before the U.S.’s firm withdrawal announcement. We get a glimpse into her life before the pandemic and before confirmation of Taliban’s return. She’s attending guitar lessons, visiting her friends and travelling alone in taxis.

By August 2021, all her dreams are at stake.

Slowly, week by week, she begins to see her world change. She had been looking forward to a bright future but now finds herself heading toward darkness.

As insecurity increases in Kabul, Fatima finds herself increasingly confined within the walls of her home. Violence erupts around her house. She watches her neighbours flee. Men in her neighbourhood demonstrate more aggressive behaviour toward women and girls. Eventually, she’s no longer allowed to leave her house without a male-relative escort.

Fatima’s desire to connect leads her to share even more reflections with an Afghan friend in Canada, with whom she has been communicating for years. Through audio and video messages sent over the summer months, we see the changes creeping into her life, hinting at the return of past horrors.

In June, power outages become more common as fighting erupts around Kabul. In July, Fatima begins to find grocery shopping dangerous. By August, her days and nights are engulfed in fear and violence.

As the situation around Kabul shifts, Fatima tries to remain resilient, but when the Taliban appears on the city’s doorstep, she is faced with an impossible choice: stay and care for her family or attempt to escape.

Stream Now on CBC Gem

Fatima in Kabul

Short Docs