Misleading; presents some facts while omitting others.
My original review of the film painted it as an innocent, but well-meaning documentary that intended to shed light on misdeeds committed on our side of the war. However, in light of more detailed reading, thought, and conversation, I have revised my review.
It's hard to feel bad about anyone killing the Taliban. In fact, it took considerable effort to motivate myself into watching the film to begin with. Given the Taliban's own infamous track record for human rights violations, it seems almost fitting that they would receive a taste of their own medicine.
At first glance (or 'first viewing') the documentary may seem to shed some light on some of the aspects of the multifaceted conflict in Afghanistan. While the documentary may provide further indications as to why the Taliban today resist surrender and negotiation, perhaps more fiercely than before, ones time is probably better served by reading a more honest (or more complete) book instead.
The documentary claims that there is sufficient evidence of a massacre of Taliban POWs by Northern Alliance troops, and that the victims were buried in the desert of Dashte Leili. However, in 1998, the Taliban embarked on a vicious campaign against the Northern Alliance and ethnic minorities -- in particular, the Hazara. There are plenty of detailed accounts as to the particular atrocities that they committed, but the short story is that they massacred both resistance fighters as well as unarmed men, women, and children -- many of whom were dumped in Dashte Leili.
Not once was this fact ever raised. Not once was this even mentioned. In fact, on a certain level, it seems absurd that one would dump the bodies of those who killed family and friends in the same area that your family and friends were left to die in. Nevertheless, this is merely speculation at this point as this was never covered in the documentary and seemingly never mentioned in the same context as this incident.
In essence, the conditions and intentionally orchestrated or unintentionally permitted murder of Taliban POWs can never compare to the atrocities that the Taliban had committed to innocents for the many years that they were in power and continue to fight for power. It is this omission of Taliban atrocities that the documentary is guilty of, especially when it is directly tied to the events that the documentary attempts to suggest occurred.
Similar, yet different to the massacre that may have occurred to the Taliban, the documentary either omits this information by accident of ignorance, or by ulterior and dishonest intent. I cannot with a clear conscience give this movie a favorable rating for this.
Afghanistan has problems -- lots of them -- and its warlords are certainly one part of that problem. However, a dishonest or misinformed documentary is not helping.
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