Sunday 7th April 2002 BBC2 at 1915GMT

The war in Afghanistan has been a man's war. Women have been absent and silent. Correspondent gives them voice and puts them on film.

For the first time, this documentary tells the extraordinary story of the resistance, rebellion and struggle waged by the women of Afghanistan.

Nobody heard the voice of Afghan women, she's the woman who has lost everything, For me, Afghan woman is not alive, she's like a dead moving body.
RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan)

When America bombed Afghanistan, they also dropped flyers with a picture. It showed a woman being beaten. Afghan women's rights were suddenly important and were to become a useful weapon in the international propaganda war against the Taliban. The image the US military used was captured on camera by RAWA, one of the most radical women's movements to emerge from the Muslim world. Despite their uncompromising condemnation of US military action in Afghanistan, RAWA's most significant support comes from the world's most privileged women, those in America.

Our incredible expedient selfish foreign policy where we support anyone who serves our current interest.. we created Bin Laden, we created those regimes and then we're surprised, oh, how did it happen? I felt shame as an American, I felt enormous guilt…. I came back from Afghanistan and I was insane.
Eve Ensler, Established V-Day (Violence Against Women) & Vagina Monologues

The film unveils the poignant personal testimonies of Afghan women who have survived 23 years of relentless war, betrayal by their own countrymen and the ruthless gender apartheid designed to erase them from public view. They reveal how the cloak of uniformity forced upon them, became their secret armour, from which they now emerge as survivors telling their own story in their own words.

They include mothers, who planned their own deaths as they saved their children; widows, who watched their husbands murdered; doctors, who faced beatings as they treated victims of war and activists like RAWA, their leader was assassinated but they continued to risk their own lives as they documented crimes against women.

As the debate on Afghan women and their plight, their representation, their fight for inclusion continues, we hear from the women themselves, the refugees in Pakistan, the exiles in America and those that remained in Afghanistan.

Kabul may be liberated but the women of Afghanistan remain veiled. They continue to watch warily as the war unfolds, still observers not participants in their own destiny. This is their story.

Produced and Directed by the award winning film-maker Zab Chughtai.

Zab's credits include:

- 'Heart of Darkness' (BBC/Discovery - Emmy nominated) charting the rise in hate crimes and white supremacy groups in America.
- 'The Koran And The Kalashnikov' (BBC1 - EMMA award for Best Documentary 2000) the story of Bin Laden and his global Jihad movement.
- 'Behind The Terror' (Discovery) transmitted a week after September 11th exploring the events leading to the attack on America.

Shorter edits of the Correspondent programme are also shown on BBC World and BBC News 24, which you may be able to get in the States on cable or satellite.

The BBC web page about this specific documentary:

[Home] [RAWA in the Media]