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The Afghan Solution

Distributed by Cowgirl Media Inc., 440 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016; 212-920-3559
Produced by Cowgirl Media, Inc.
Directed by Josie Maynard
DVD, color, 52 min.
College - Adult
Middle Eastern Studies, Political Science

Reviewed by Michael J. Coffta, Business Librarian, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 3/31/2011

The opening line of the film, describing Afghanistan as a “country at war with its future,” encapsulates the thesis of this outstanding work. The film gives a full assessment of the lurking but distinct threat that the Taliban currently presents in Afghanistan, as well as an assessment of the interventions of the United States.

Interviewed members of Parliament call for more reconstructive projects, such as building roads and digging wells, and warn of the consequences of an abrupt withdrawal, as the Soviets did in 1989. Otherwise, Afghanistan will devolve into a hub of international terrorism. The people of Afghanistan are quick to cite that the lack of United States initiatives in areas that are not combatting the Taliban.

The most distinctive feature of this work is its detailed and encompassing view of the Afghan people, and the feasibility of a working central government. The country mixes politics military and religion. Afghanistan is a fragmented and diverse country, with unity difficult to find among its tribes, warlords, and elders. The film gives a history of Taliban, its rise to power so that “order be restored,” and the prevalent violence and oppression. It offers a timeline of the US campaign and occupation. The point is made that the US remains distracted by Iraq, thereby lowering the concentration of troops in Afghanistan and enabling a Taliban resurgence. The filmmakers plainly state that the Taliban is growing every day.

The solution proposed by the film is a federalist government, which involves Afghan groups outside of Kabul. Many interviews with scholars and even the Speaker of the House in Afghanistan cite the gridlock of new government mechanisms of bureaucracy. The filmmakers call for the US government to interact with the Afghan people, not just the centralized government, to “win the war politically.” Finally, this brilliant work gives a sobering look at the woeful conditions of poverty, disease, and lack of technology in this country.

This phenomenal documentary is perfectly paced and accomplishes its grand mission: to give a full assessment of the condition of Afghanistan. Nowhere does it fail. The film promotes its thesis in such a way that it appears to remain objective. It is rare that a film has such an objective delivery, and proceeds much like a well written research paper would, in a short amount of time. It is well produced and edited, with great use of archival footage and motion graphics. Potential viewers should, however, note that there are several graphic depictions of violence, including an execution by gunshot.