The Taliban are ruling Afghanistan, they being a repressive regime especially for women, who, among other things, are not allowed to work. This situation is especially difficult for one ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Mohammad Arif Herati ...
Zubaida Sahar ...
Mohammad Nadir Khwaja ...
Mohamad Haref Harati
Gul Rehman Ghorbandi ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Khwaja Nader
Hamida Refah


The Taliban are ruling Afghanistan, they being a repressive regime especially for women, who, among other things, are not allowed to work. This situation is especially difficult for one family consisting solely of three women representing three successive generations. All the males in their family have died in various Afghani wars. The mother had been working as a nurse in a hospital, but regardless of she not being allowed to work, the Taliban has cut off funding to the hospital. The mother and grandmother make what they feel is the only decision they can to survive: they will have the preteen daughter masquerade as a boy so that she can get a job to support the family. The daughter, feeling powerless, agrees despite being scared as if the Taliban discover her masquerade, she is certain they will kill her. Partly as a symbolic measure, the daughter plants a lock of her now cut hair in a pot so that her lost femininity can flourish. The only people outside the family who know of the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

taliban | boy | girl | school | hair | See All (175) »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

27 June 2003 (Afghanistan)  »

Also Known As:

Afghan Zero nen  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$46,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$51,969 (USA) (6 February 2004)


$1,127,331 (USA) (23 April 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


The first time Osama is encouraged to climb the tree, the amount of light on her face changes between shots. The close shot shows the right side of her face in shadow, while in the long shot from the top of the tree all of her face is in sunlight. See more »


Featured in The 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Thank the USA for the hard-line Taliban regime in Afghanistan
3 March 2005 | by (Eel Pie Island) – See all my reviews

Reviewers of this movie should get real about the origins of this bizarre Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Unhappy at having a lawless heroin-producing region on its southern flank, in the 1980s the Soviet Union installed a progressive president and started educating women and building schools and hospitals across the mountainous land, causing not inconsiderable consternation among the conservative Islamic mullahs of the traditional tribal religion. Zbigniew Bresjinski, of the US National Security Agency, visited Afghanistan on behalf of President Jimmy Carter and conceived of a great way to drive the Soviet left-wingers out: mobilise the Moslems. "Organizing, training, and funding radical Mujahedeen in Afghanistan—--including Osama bin Laden—--is considered the CIA's 'largest and most successful CIA operation in history' and 'the one morally unambiguous crusade of our time,' according to George Crile, a veteran producer for the CBS' 60 Minutes. (See The Largest Covert Operation in CIA History by Chalmers Johnson.)" Hundreds of thousands of Holy Korans were published in Chicago (I'm not making this up) and distributed to Madrasa schools across neighbouring US-client Pakistan, where a substantial force of Islamic radicals was armed and trained by US specialists. They subsequently deployed in Afghanistan and fought a 12-year guerrilla war, using US weapons and special forces techniques, that finally caused an imploding Soviet Union to withdraw. The Taliban filled the resultant vacuum. The schools and hospitals that they shut down, and which were shown in Osama, were Soviet-built, not US built. Until then, the USA had been quite happy to leave the Afghan men and women at the mercy of tribal warlords. As it turned out, the Taliban, although effectively installed by the USA, did not handle negotiations with the wholly corrupt and kleptomaniac Enron Corporation well. Nor was their purging of the heroin crop popular in certain western quarters. In the spring of 2001, after a Taliban government delegation toured the USA, US/Pakistani diplomats threatened the Taliban with military action if they did not cave in to the demands of Enron and the US-based oil cartel. The events of 9/ll conveniently gave Uncle Sam a reason to invade and blow away the Taliban who up until then the US had been quite happy to negotiate with. The new pro-US government immediately started negotiations over an oil pipeline and the heroin crop was restored to the point where the UK, Europe's largest heroin consumer, now relies on Afghanistan for 90 per cent of its needs. So it's worth remembering, when confronted by the unpleasant face of the Taliban government, that Uncle Sam helped destroy the schools and hospitals, trained the Moslem terrorists, facilitated the Taliban regime, and when the moment came, destroyed it and restored both the heroin crop and the warlords.

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