Afghanistan’s Teen Girls Turn the Camera on Kabul

by Jackie Leahy

It’s only 25 minutes long, but in this video from Journeyman Pictures, these three girls, Nargis, Sadaf and Sahar, manage to show life on the screen. In the first scene, Sadaf practices the drums, explaining that she wants to prove wrong the people who find her passion unfeminine.

The video follows the girls on car trips and in the park. They eat corn on the cob and chocolate donuts, showing, through the eyes of their small cameras, the vividness of life in Kabul. As the girls walk and drive, vendors sell radishes in the street, old men, young children, and goats wander the streets, and young men gather in groups in the park.

The most violent thing about the life these young women lead is the tension in their lives, the tension between their happy conversations about forming a band, their camaraderie in moments when they sing in the car, and the constant threat of assault in the form of street harassment and military aggression.

There are shocking moments; at one point a boy in a park yells that if his sister did what the girls filming were doing he would behead her, and later on a car stops ominously in the middle of the girls’ path. These visible acts of aggression are overshadowed by subtle acts of disapproval, strange looks and a general sense of social indifference. As one of the girls says, “Nowadays it’s really easy to cut off the head of a woman. It’s really easy to hang them and to kill them. Violence has become so common that people look at it as natural and commonplace.”

The girls’ optimism is inspiring. But as the video makes clear, Nargis, Sadaf, and Sahar are as unwavering and resilient as they are because they must be.  

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.