10:52:55 UN Conference, Afghan Delegate The Soviet Armed Forces contingents were not involved at all in the internal events of 27 December 1979. First, these contingents will not stay in Afghanistan even for one day longer after the reasons for their cause cease to exist.
10:53:12 President Jimmy Carter This is a callous violation of international law and the United Nations Charter. It is a deliberate effort of a powerful, atheistic government to subjugate an independent Islamic people.
V/O On 24th December, 1979, the first divisions of the Soviet Armed Forces crossed the Amu Darya River, invading Afghanistan.Landing at Kabul airport, elite airborne troops secured the capital. The Soviets simultaneously seized control of all strategic airfields and major towns in the country.
Storming the Presidential Palace, KBG agents murdered Marxist President Amin, who had proved unable to subdue the Muslim resistance.Within 3 days of the invasion, the Soviets installed Barbak Karmal as the new Head of State.
Fervent Muslims had already declared ‘Jihad’ – Holy War – against Afghanistan’s two ruling Communist Parties, the Khalqis and Parchamis.Jihad was now declared against the Soviet Union.
10:54:44 Radio: World Service This is Radio Moscow World Service.
V/O Afghan guerrillas, known as Mujahideen, armed with simple and obsolete weapons, are fighting a modern and well-equipped force of 120 000 Soviet troops.
The Russians are the most recent in a long line of invading armies. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and the British Empire have all attempted to conquer Afghanistan. But this is not a modern war.This is Jihad – a holy war fought with an ancient mentality.
The Soviets control the main cities and highways. The Mujahideen have withdrawn to their strongholds in the mountains and countryside. There is one exception: Kandahar. The former Imperial capital, and second largest city in present day Afghanistan.
The Mujahideen and the Soviets occupy different parts of the city.The Mujahideen control this district known as Mahalajat.
The Soviet and Afghan armies have posts dotted around the city, and control the airport and military district. In Kandahar, 4500 Mujahideen wage war against 11 000 Soviet and Afghan army troops.
The Soviets could desroy Mahalajat but large-scale civilian casualties would only escalate the resistance.Most educated Afghans opposed to the Russians have left Afghanistan.It is the peasants who remain to fight the war.
This film was shot clandestinely in Kandahar, at times one city block away from Soviet and Afghan army posts.This is the story of Jihad – as seen through the eyes of Haji Abdul Latif – the “Lion of Kandahar” – and his Mujahideen.
10:58:23 Haji Abdul Latif My name is Razi Haji Abdul Latif. I am 76 years old. For seven years I have been fighting jihad in Kandahar city.I have 4500 Mujahideen under my command. We fight in the fields, streets and bazaars.
In Kandahar, we have no mountains to hide in. Kandahar is the most important province in Afghanistan, so the Russians have concentrated their greatest force here.
Though we must fight in the open, we are not afraid. My Mujahideen stand fast and fiercely resist the infidels.
10:59:06 Rahim Wardak, Chief of Staff, NIFA Haja Latif is one of the most important commanders of the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan and also all the Mujaheds commanders who are fighting the Soviets today.
He belongs to a society which they call “bare-footers” and they have almost the same values like you had in the 10th Century – the knights or chevaliers in Europe
I mean they are always fighting for the truth and justice and also defending against evil.Right now the whole society of which he used to be the chief is involved in this Holy War.
Old Lady (subtitles) For the sake of the Holy Koran, help me!
11:00:05 Haji Abdul Latif Barbrak Karmal and the Russians have offered 150 000 rupees for my capture, dead or alive. But they will never succeed because God, the Prophet and the Holy Koran are on my side.God is my friend and will banish Karmal in shame from our land. Thousands of men have been martyred. But we have paid the infidels back.
My Mujahideen have killed Russians and the communist Khalqis and Parchamis by the thousands. No place in Afghanistan has given as many martyrs as Kandahar.
The Russians are dropping bombs on our land. They are murdering our children… violating our women and the Holy Koran.We have therefore proclaimed a jihad against our enemies and have vowed to fight on till our last breath.
11:01:08 Commander Gul Agha, (son of Haji Latif) In Daoud Khan’s time, everything was plentiful in Kandahar. Every Muslim, poor and rich, was happy.
When the Communists came, our properties were destroyed. The Soviet infidels killed my mother and sister.Since the Russians invaded, many people have left the city. But the people who remain are on the side of the Mujahideen.
All the people of Kandahar – even the children – support jihad.We have spies everywhere. The people tell us what the infidels are up to.The Communists live among the people, so there are no secrets from us.
The infidels know they are never safe. Here in Kandahar we fight and live together. We pass the communists in the streets and bazaars.Because of the leadership of my father, Razi Haji Abdul Latif, the Mujahideen can move freely throughout all of Kandahar.
Many times the Russians have tried to kill him. But even with all their tanks and helicopters, the Russians cannot stop us. Each week they shell Mahalajat. Each week we rocket the airport.
11:02:24 Haji Latif & son (subtitles) - Who gave you permission to eat?- You did therefore its lawful.
V/O In Kandahar, war is often a casual affair. An accepted way of life. The weekly 107milimetre rocket attack on Kandahar airport results in severe Soviet casualties, but is treated as a mundane chore.
The various Mujahideen groups fighting Jihad do not always agree, resulting in fierce rivalries.
11:03:12 Mujahed talking to Haji Latif(subtitles) - I’ve seen him stealing. If you’ve caught a thief… If it’s proved to me that Haji Latif’s man is a thief, I will tell you.- Fuck his mother! Cut his hand off!
11:03:40 Mujahed (white turban) - If it is proved to me that one of his men is a thief… that Haji Latif keeps company… with hashish smokers, wine drinkers and thieves. Haji Latif controls his hashish smokers and thieves. Come to the front with me. If you find any bad characters, then arrest them.
11:04:04 Haji Latif - But there is one delicate point here. Your chiefs are no longer in power. They are finished.- What chiefs?- The chiefs at the front are finished. Even their fathers can’t put them back in power.
V/O Hashish smoking, though widespread, is condemned by the Mullahs.
11:04:41 Haji Latif Before the war, my men were known as Pai Luch – “barefoots”. As a test of courage, they smoked scorpions and snakeheads in their waterpipes or let scorpions sting them. The Pai Luch burned their arms with red-hot coals to practice silence under torture. After the Russians invaded, our religious leaders proclaimed these rituals were against Islam. Since Jihad, we have stopped these rituals. Now my men are righteous and true Mujahideen.
Like the Pai Luch, my men today are of high moral character. When my men are captured, they are tortured mercilessly but they never confess. All of Kandahar know that there are no Mujahideen as brave and active as mine.
11:05:37 Lalwan, soldier I am Lalwan, a soldier of Grandfather Haji Abdul Latif. Three years ago, Russian soldiers captured me. They accused me of being a Mujahed and threw me into Pol-i-Charki prison. They beat me and gave electric shocks to my testicles. But even under torture, I did not confess. They kept me in prison for seven months… then they forced me into the army.
I escaped to Chaman and joined Grandfather Haji’s Mujahideen. Since then I have been fighting jihad against the Russians.I am here with the permission of my parents to defend my sacred land, Islam and the Holy Koran.
11:06:21 Lalwan [I/V] - Lalwan, do you like hashish?- Just a little bit. I smoke hashish, but not very much.- Not very much?- No, not much. I only smoke in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. I smoke hashish to pass the time. I never smoke until I become unconscious. I just smoke as much as I can handle. To keep in a good frame of mind. I never lose control.
- Is hashish good for you?- With hashish, I can fight until the blood stops flowing through my veins… until my last breath. With hashish, I can fight face-to-face. This is no joke. My friends who are sitting here will tell you this is the truth. If I don’t smoke hashish, I cannot fight. With hashish, I fight very well against the Russians.
11:08:48 Malak Malim We are on our way to fight the infidels. I am Malak Malim, the one who cuts the throats of communists. In Mahalajat and Argastan, I cut the throats of ten infidels with my bayonet. If there are 150 infidels in Maruf, I shall cut the throats of all of them! God willing. Do you hear me? (LAUGHS)
Malak Malim(subtitles) Be careful you don’t cut your throat! (LAUGHS)
11:09:43 Lalwan(subtitles) Come on, move those pick-axes and spades!
11:10:08 Mujahideen group - We’ll be going to fight in Maruf and we’ll wipe out the garrison. We’ll be taking mortars and anti-aircraft guns.- We’ll put rockets on the mountain by the side of Daru Baba Shrine. It will be a long siege. We’ll overrun the garrison with four attack groups. If we capture the communists alive, what should we do with them?We will hand them over to Judge Malawi Abdule Bari’s court to decide.
V/O After seven years of fighting, war has become a ritual, like “Buzkashi”, the national sport, and “Atan-i-Milli”, the ancient warrior dance performed before a battle.
11:12:02 Mujahideen group (subtitles) God is great!Death to Gorbachev!Long live Afghanistan!Long live Haji Latif!
V/O Six different Mujahideen organisations, in a combined operation, leave Walla camp to attack Maruf Division – a Soviet and Afghan Army garrison.
Subtitles God is great!
V/O The Mujahideen have scored successive hits on Maruf garrison.The Soviets retaliate with helicopter gunships and Migs – strafing and bombing the Mujahideen positions.
Mujahed(subtitles) - Are you blind? Get up you weakling and fire again!
GUNFIRE & EXPLOSIONS
V/O The siege lasts for over a month with neither side gaining ground.
11:15:35 Afghan Army deserter I am a Muslim and an Afghan and that is why I deserted from Maruf division. I have been thinking day and night of escaping. The Karmal officers told us that no-one could escape because there were 15 rows of anti-personnel mines around the garrison. We were wiling to be blown to pieces rather than live under the infidels.
On Thurdsay night, we bowed to Mecca and escape when my friend Mohammed Zaman was on guard duty.I am just a farmer, but the communists forced me into the army. All I want to do is go back to my land. But now, if the government captures us, they will kill us. If not, they will send us to Pol-i-Charki prison for seven or eight years – and that kind of sentence is another form of death.That’s it.
11:16:58 Prisoner & Judge(subtitles) - How did you get here?- I was captured.- What were you doing?- I was fighting the Mujahideen.- You were fighting against the Mujahideen? For how long did you fight them?- 2 years.- You were fighting against the Mujahideen for 2 years? Do you repent? What should I do with you?
- You were fighting with the Russians so now you are here. What are you going to do now?- We will fight Jihad for Allah.- When we fired our mortars on your positions, what were your losses?- Two armoured personnel carriers were destroyed. Khalqis and Parchamis were killed. Russian advisers and their families were killed. Some others were wounded.
11:18:29 Chief Judge, Malawi Abdul Bari I, Malawi Adbul Bari, have been the chief judge in Kandahar province for the past seven years. Razi Haji Abdul Latif is the chief commander of Kandahar province. Together we pass sentence according to Islamic War and we both issue orders in Kandahar.In the past seven years, we have ordered the execution of 6000 to 7000 prisoners and the chopping off of 1000 hands.
We follow the instructions of our respected leaders in Peshawar. So we cannot cut any throats until we get orders from Peshawar. After passing sentence, we issue orders to the Head Executioner who is sitting here. If we order him to behead prisoners with a blow from his axe, then he beheads them. If we order him ot hang any prisoners then he hangs them by their necks. When I give the Head Executioner any order, he carries it out.
The head executioner executes the prisoners by ritual throat cutting or shoots them or cuts off their hand. We must execute prisoners outside the city so a conflict does not arise with the prisoner’s tribe.
11:19:45 Head Executioner I am Mohammed Juma, Head Executioner. I carry out sentences of Judge Malawi Abdul Bari of the Islamic court and Razi Haji Abdul Latif. They issue me the order to kill prisoners by shooting, beheading or stoning to death.In the past three years, I have executed 1500 prisoners. I chop off their heads, like this.
11:20:41 Mujahed He was a Cuban soldier we bayoneted to death with eleven Russians. This is where he is buried.We captured this man in Dumbar – he was wearing a military uniform. We don’t know if he is a militiaman, government agent or spy. According to Koranic law we cannot execute him until he confesses. Since we captured him, he refuses to speak.
11:21:10 Mujahed to prisoner(subtitles) Are you a Russian or a Parchami? Where do you come from son-of-an-English infidel? Where do you come from? Whos ent you? Which country are you from? (LAUGHING) Where is your gun? Speak! Hurry up! Hurry up!(Don’t do this to him)Talk you son-of-a-whore! What are you?Look, he’s wet his pants! It’s useless brother, he wont talk. Sit down, sit down!
Mujahed When we captured him, we cut the soles of his feet with a dagger, but still he did not confess. We broke his knees so he could not escape.
Mujahed to prisoner(subtitles) You’ve only captured a son-of-a-whore!
11:23:10 Refugee Camp - Why did you come here?- Because of fear. We have lost our men, our children. The Russians killed my husband. They bombarded us at night and in the morning.
- We had many martyrs. All of us are sick.- We are dying everyday. This is for the sake of Russians in Afghanistan.- They killed our camels. They killed our people. For two months we have been trying to reach this camp.
11:23:38 Wakil Akbersai, Director, Refugee Relief Today, what you have seen, the people around here, they are refugees from Baghlan Province. What she said a moment ago – they have been forced and terrorized to leave their homeland.
These people have not took refuge because there is a famine in Afghanistan or they were economically bad off. They are the world’s famous carpet-weavers, but they didn’t have freedom.
They have seen their children bayoneted. They have seen their husbands have been slaughtered and tortured in front of them. They have seen their animals have not been spared even.
Prior to the invasion of Afghanistan, we had 15 million population. We have lost more than one million of our people due to the brutal bombardment of the Soviets and have driven out more than three million people out of the country.
11:24:50 Rahim Wardak, Chief of Staff, NIFA The war which we are waging against the Soviet Union is a Jihad, because it is a war to defend the faith and to defend the faith against an infidel. An atheist power which believes in no god and no religion so that’s why we call it “a holy war”.
It is the duty of every Afghan to fight back – to defend the faith – to defend their country.
11:25:36 Ismael, Mujahed When enemy forces attacked Malajat, I killed three Russians by the river. When they were swimming, I shot them with my Kalashnikov.
Pakistan is no good, Afghanistan is good. There’s no war in Pakistan. America has given Pakistan Kalashnikovs, planes, grenade-launchers and helicopters. Yet in Afghanistan there’s war… in Pakistan, no war. Afghanistan is good.
In Afghanistan, there’s plenty of fighting. In Malajat, there’s no fighting. Pakistan, there’s no war. America, there’s no war. America has tons of weapons, ammunition, Kalashnikovs, tanks, helicopters… but there’s no war. Why isn’t there war in America? Why isn’t there war in Pakistan? Afghanistan has nothing… no medicine, no tanks, no helicopters. But still there’s plenty of fighting.
(- Do you like war?)- Why not? War is good. Every day I fight. I like war a lot.
11:27:11 SONG(subtitles) Our sacred soil has been desecrated by Khalqis and Russian hippies.Adam Khan was our champion.He vanquished the Parchamis and Russian hippies.Our sacred soil has been desecrated by Khalquis and Russian hippies.Look at the Khalqui, he is a big beast. He is lower than a donkey.Our sacred soil has been desecrated by Khalquis and Russian hippies.
Mujahideen(subtitles) - Pull down the wall so I can fire!- It’s not true Haji grandfather.- I’ll stick it up your mother! Get away from me you son-of-a-whore!
11:30:54 Haji Latif This boy is nine years old. He is a “Cherokee” – a hit-and-run guerrilla. I have many other children like this who throw grenades at communists in the bazaar.
11:31:09 Cherokee My job is to sneak up to Russians and communists and shoot them with my pistol. If there is a large group of them, I throw a grenade. I throw it like this. Sometimes I shoot them with a machine-gun.
MACHINE GUN FIRE
V/O According to a spy for the Mujahideen at the Military District, the Soviets discovered the presence of a Western film crew in Kandahar. At 7am, Soviet and Afghan army troops with tanks and armoured personnel carriers surrounded Malajat in an attempt to capture or kill Haji Latif and the foreigners.
11:32:19 Mujaheds(subtitles) - Look! The Russians are coming over the bridge!- Look, they can see us! Keep your head down!- Move your fat arse and shoot the fucking rocket!- Russians! Russians!
GUNFIRE & EXPLOSIONS
V/O Trapped for three hours, the Mujahideen managed to blast their way free with 82mm recoilless rifles.
Mujaheds(subtitles) - Hurry up Jaffar! Hurry up!
V/O After the initial battle, 27 Mujahideen lay dead, 35 were wounded. For three days and nights, the Soviet and Afghan armies shelled Malajat and then withdrew.
Mujaheds(subtitles) - What kind of people are you? The people can hit you.
11:35:43 Judge So why is it a great deed to fight Jihad? God gives those who fight Jihad a special place in Paradise. Those who fight Jihad for the sake of Allah attain a higher rank than even the prophets. A martyr need not be washed or buried in clean clothes. On the contrary. A martyr can be buried with his clothes soaked in blood. This is an honour not even reserved for prophets and saints.
Another honour that is only given to martyrs is that when they die, their bodies have no odour. A Mujahed martyred in jihad will be permitted immediate entry into Paradise without having to give account of his deeds.
Almighty God has given the greatest honour to martyrs in that they live forever… anyone who says that a martyr is really dead is against Islam.All prophets and creatures of God must surrender their soul to the Angel Israel who pulls out souls with a terrible thunderous roar. Not so martyrs. Almighty God removes the soul of a martyr with no more pain than the bite of a flea.
A martyr will give up his soul in such a way as if her were sucking the breast of his mother. God has given these honours only to martyrs.If all Mujahideen know of these honours, they will do nothing but fight Jihad.
11:37:04 Commander Gul Agha We are fighting Jihad because we want to go to Paradise. We want to be martyred because Paradise awaits those who are martyred. There will be gardens in Paradise, there will be many kinds of fruit. There will be wines and pretty boys and pretty girls.
All the things that are forbidden to Muslims in this life, a martyr can have in Paradise.We hope to go to Paradise and we hope to convert the infidels to Islam – so that they can also go to Paradise. A martyr does not die – he lives forever.
We have had many martyrs in our Jihad.We have had many martyrs in Kandahar.Once of those martyrs was Ahmed Shah. He was martyred one-and-a-half months ago near Heart Gate in Kandahar City. He was wounded in his stomach by anti-personnel mine.
Even though he was only 15 years old, he was very brave and the best Mujahed.For ten days he was conscious and in great pain, but he never cried out.Razi Haji Abdul Latif and the Mujahideen are very sad about his death.
11:38:31 Ahmed Shah(1 month before his death) The money that comes for Jihad outside Afghanistan – we never see any of it in Kandahar. The Mujahideen organisations in Pakistan spend half of their money on expensive pick-up trucks and the other half on their offices.
After all the amount is divided and spent, nothing remains for the Mujahideen. The poor Mujahideen just have their old, torn clothes and a little bit of food.We have no caps to wear on our heads… we have no sandals… so we are fighting Jihad in our bare feet.
The Russians bombard us – fire their missiles at us. They tear aoart our bodies. Our injured are lying in a room, their bodies torn, and we have nothing to give them.We have no medicine, no doctors to take the shrapnel and bullets out of their bodies. Many have died from their injuries. Many more will die because there are no doctors or medicine.Mujahideen die because they have no money in their pockets.
11:39:30 Dying man(subtitles) I was fighting Jihad in Mahalajat. I was hit by a mortar. Terrible, terrible pain.It hit my stomach.(MOANS) Haji Abdul Latif. My name is Ibrahim.
V/O Five days after filming “Cherokee”, he was captured by the Afghan army while on his way to Mujahideen Headquarters in Pakistan.
Mohammed Jumar, the Head Executioner, was killed by a mortar explosion while riding his motorbike in the centre of Kandahar.The Afghan army prisoners interrogated by Judge Malawi Adbul Bari were released. “They are Muslims”, said the judge.Today, they are fighting Jihad with the Mujahideen.
The fate of the suspected spy at the Hezbi-Islamic camp is unknown. The commander said, “He is an infidel. The day he confesses, I will cut his throat.”
Lalwan and Ismael have known each other since childhood. Most of their friends have been killed since the Soviet invasion.They are among the few survivors.
Haji Latif is alive and fighting Jihad in Kandahar. His leadership has already influenced four generations and his spirit will survive in future generations of holy warriors.
Photography: Alexander Lindsay
Sound Recordist: Suffi Jaffar
Editor: John Barnes
Executive Producer: John Gau
Producers: Jeff B. Harmon & Alexander Lindsay
Director: Jeff B. Harmon
A DUCE Films International Ltd Production © 1986