“Escape from Kabul” director about Afghanistan under Taliban rule

Last winter, Taliban forces stormed a house in Kabul, Afghanistan, and discovered an ISIS terrorist cell with plans to bomb the city’s presidential palace, which was occupied by Taliban militants.

“Often the Taliban just started searching houses. So they would pound into people’s homes or just go door to door,” filmmaker Jamie Roberts, who lived near the cell at the time, told The Post.

“I think what they were looking for was guns or spies.”

Since the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in August 2021, chaos, fear and rampant violence have ruled the country, said Roberts, the director of “Escape From Kabul,” a new documentary about the harrowing exodus premiering Wednesday on HBO Max .

Armed raids are just the beginning of the everyday terror under Taliban rule that Afghan citizens are now facing – including American allies who are unable to flee.

Ever since the Taliban took over the city, Kabul has been like hell.
It’s been hell in Kabul since the Taliban took over the city.
Getty Images

“You’ll see it on the street [the Taliban] have complete control and are hardliners. So people follow their rules and if they don’t, then you get beaten up or you go to jail or you don’t really know because the rules aren’t really set yet… there were people who got shot at checkpoints,” he added.

“There was [constant] minor bombings happen… at night you only hear gunshots.”

Earlier this month, after the regime reportedly closed several schools for girls in sixth grade and up, the United Nations said the Taliban were “intimidating and harassing their Afghan female staff.”

“It is not a normally functioning country with a judiciary, police, government and journalists holding them accountable. They only have a single unit with no oversight,” Roberts said.

Jamie Roberts interviewed many Taliban members for his documentary.
Jamie Roberts interviewed many Taliban members for his documentary.

“The journalists are being arrested. Obviously women are very scared of what’s to come… They’ve taken this fake news to another level, it’s all just on social media. So you would hear a bomb explode unless it’s really bad you have no idea what’s going on.

Far too often, the victims of these bombings and acts of violence — whether by the Taliban, ISIS or criminals — are innocent, the filmmaker said, citing the carnage he witnessed.

“There are children with landmines [wounds] and their hands blown away, people with shots in the head come in [to hospitals],” he said.

The heinous lawlessness is compounded by “economic desperation,” Roberts said, noting how the area around Kabul airport has become particularly dangerous.

Taliban forces are ruling with extreme viciousness and violence, said a filmmaker who was in the country earlier this year.

Taliban forces are ruling with extreme viciousness and violence, said a filmmaker who was in the country earlier this year.


Vicious crime and economic decline also plague Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

Vicious crime and economic decline also plague Afghanistan under Taliban rule.


“People would call it the ‘Ali Baba’ area because there was a lot of kidnapping and a lot of crime,” he said. “Child beggars everywhere [across Kabul] with almost Dickensian dirty faces, begging. Really small you talk like 5, 6, 7, 8 years old you would see them at night. The level of poverty is enormous.”

After the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul on August 15, 2021, the subsequent evacuation surrounded Kabul airport with 1,000 suicide bombers, Taliban commander Abdul Hadi Hamdan claims in the documentary.

Many perished queuing for days to get into the airport, while another group of people clung to the outside of an airborne C-17 and fatally fell to the ground. One night, ruthless Afghan special forces cleared huge crowds off the tarmac and people were “executed” on the spot, Major Jordan Eddington of the United States Marine Corps says onscreen.

The Taliban had Kabul airport surrounded by a thousand suicide bombers, the organization's leadership said.
The Taliban had Kabul airport surrounded by a thousand suicide bombers, the organization’s leadership said.
AFP via Getty Images

On August 26, an IS suicide bomber killed 13 US service members and 170 fleeing civilians.

Despite the disastrous withdrawal, more than 124,000 citizens were flown to safety by the end of the month. The operation was the largest evacuation of non-combatants in American military history.

Smoke can be seen from the ISIS suicide bomber that killed 13 American service members and 170 civilians in Kabul last August.

Smoke can be seen from the ISIS suicide bomber that killed 13 American service members and 170 civilians in Kabul last August.


Over 124,000 civilians fled Kabul in extreme hardship last August when the Taliban occupied the city.

Over 124,000 civilians fled Kabul in extreme hardship last August when the Taliban occupied the city.


Now that Afghanistan is once again confronting the leadership of the Taliban – the group was overthrown by American forces in 2001 – many have expressed regret at the American pullout, Roberts said.

“All these people [Americans and allied military contractors] interacted and worked with Afghans, and they did a lot of work – including social interactions,” he said. “So I think the West left a huge sense of sadness and loss.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/19/escape-from-kabul-director-on-afghanistan-under-taliban-rule/ “Escape from Kabul” director about Afghanistan under Taliban rule

Emma Bowman

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