Afghan Army Girls TX: 15 Jun 2013, Week 25
Afghan Army Girls is an unprecedented insight into life as a young woman in war-torn Afghanistan following three very different female recruits Zeinab, Samiya and Homa. These girls are trailblazers of their time, facing stigma and shame for joining up but they are determined to better themselves while still maintaining strict traditions of their country.
The three girls face recriminations from their extended family for working outside their home, or even worse, coming into contact with men. There's even a rumour the Taliban has put a price on their heads. But they know this is a time to make history and for those with the best grades, there is the opportunity of going on to join the air force where some of the training takes place abroad.
We follow the girls through the highs and lows of their 6 month basic training course.
Zeinab, 21, is trying to escape an arranged marriage after a failed love affair. Her fiancé doesn't know she's in the army but however contentious her job might be, she believes that it is up to the youth of the country to take steps towards modernity and break the bonds of the past. But when her fiancé finds out what she does, her life changes forever.
Homa, 25, is a single mother trying to create a better life for her son. As an unmarried woman with a child, her marital prospects are already slim, and joining the army isn't helping. She struggles physically but she has to make it into the air force not just for her sons future - she owes it to the memory of her sister who died.
Samiya was made to join the army by her parents and she hates it. She was brought up as a boy. In the practice of Bacha Posh, families without sons (who are highly prized) often raise their daughters as boys until they reach puberty. But Samiya, now 22, maintains her boyishness and with it come some very conservative ideas about the role of women which clash heavily with the progressive career she now has.
Over 6 months they learn how to assemble weapons and shoot, do sport and self-defence for the first time, work radios and even read maps. The film also follows them home to meet their families who discuss in brutal honesty about war, marriage, religion, domestic violence, family, honour, love and most importantly, what it's like to be a woman in modern Afghanistan.
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