Netflix looks into the world of Afghanistan’s youngest female mayor amid the Taliban’s takeover

Netflix looks into the world of Afghanistan’s youngest female mayor amid the Taliban’s takeover


The film follows the story of Zarifa Ghafari against the backdrop of the Taliban takeover.

Zarifa Ghafari made history as not only one of the first female mayors in Afghanistan but also the youngest, following her appointment at the age of 26 in 2019.

Her politics are understandably female-oriented, and she made efforts to advance women’s rights across the country during her tenure. 

After becoming a role model for young women in Afghanistan by safeguarding women’s rights following US-Taliban negotiations, she was chosen as an International Woman of Courage by the US Secretary of State in 2020.

Zarifa Ghafari was Afghanistan’s youngest female mayor

Now, Netflix has decided to tell her incredible story.

In Her Hands follows Ghafari “at a pivotal time in her country’s history as the Taliban’s control is ever mounting”.

Directed by Tamana Ayazi and Marcel Mettelsiefen, the film includes interviews with members of the Taliban, as well as women who have been deeply impacted by their actions.

Having premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film was also produced by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, and follows the story of the young female politician’s push for change.

Taking place over the course of two years, the documentary follows Ghafari as she tries to survive her country’s takeover at the hands of the Taliban, following her tumultuous journey as Western forces retreat and she is forced to come to grips with the new reality of her home.

Of course, escape from attack was near-impossible for the controversial young mayor. Her father was eventually killed by gunmen in 2020, and when Ghafari realised the risk to her life, she fled from Afghanistan to Germany with her family. 

Upon reaching some semblance of safety, she later gave an interview to the BBC. 

She spoke about knowing that she was a threat to the Taliban’s ideals, who believe in restricting women’s rights to conform with their interpretation of Islam.  

“My voice has the power that no guns have,” she said.

The documentary takes place over two years amid the Taliban’s takeover.

In the gripping trailer, we are shown jarring footage of the Taliban’s invasion into the city of Kabul. In a car, Ghafari exhales shakily, knowing the severely risky position that she is now in.

We can also see Ghafari fleeing, where she worries that they are being pursued by another car. But she does not back down, appearing strong in front of the cameras.

“Education is the key to a country’s development,” she says in voiceover. “I want to fight here for women’s education rights.”

Her resolve appears strong even amid the chaos and panic, and when asked what will happen if she dies, she responds frankly: “If I die, I will die for a reason.”

With the distressing and intense footage, it’s clear that this film will be a tense exploration of what it means to stand for something, to remain strong even in the face of backlash and danger. 

It cannot be denied that Ghafari is an impressive figure, making political waves at such a young age. Perhaps In Her Hands will be a testament to her courageous drive in more ways than one.

In Her Hands is available to stream on Netflix.

Images: Netflix

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