Co-sponsored by The Asia Foundation.

The rebuilding effort in Afghanistan has proved a difficult task. In recent months, there have been numerous discussions of the failures of reconstruction. Nonetheless, there are some notable examples of real change in the country. The Asia Program hosted the Washington, D.C. premiere of "Afghanistan Unveiled," a documentary film that illustrates just one of the successes over the last 16 months in Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan Unveiled" served as the culmination of a first of its kind training program for women journalists in post-Taliban Afghanistan. A unique film "about Afghan women, for Afghan women," "Afghanistan Unveiled" not only provided an opportunity for these aspiring video journalists to practice their craft, but also offered a chance for the women of Afghanistan, previously hidden behind the chadri, to speak their minds. Many openly criticized the former regime; one women declared that the "Taliban came like a great plague"; another lamented the "black mark" that Al Qaeda put on history. The film also exposed the disparity of women's rights in the newly liberated Afghanistan—while women in the relatively "liberal" capital city of Kabul are comfortable traveling the streets alone and unveiled, those in rural areas like Herat have seen little change from the repressive policies once enforced by the Taliban. The film underscores the importance of an independent media in Afghanistan and highlights the continuing challenges to true equal rights and democratization in the country—but also, according to Paula J. Dobriansky, showcased the "universal optimism for Afghanistan's future."

Drafted by Timothy Hildebrandt, Asia Program Assistant, 202/691-4057
Robert M. Hathaway, Asia Program Director