Lifting the Veil: Zarmina’s Story

10th November 2002| Channel 4 Dispatches

Everyone who saw it remembers the image. The anonymous, veiled figure led across the football pitch in Taliban-ruled Kabul, shot in cold blood in front of several thousand spectators. But for what? And who was she? What had she done to deserve this – and what of her family and children?

The opening sequence of Hardcash Productions’ award-winning film Beneath the Veil was shot secretly by brave dissident Afghan camerawomen. Now, one year later, Carla Garapedian travels to an Afghanistan liberated from the Taliban to track down the story of the woman beneath the veil.

Narrated by Saira Shah, Zarmina’s Story investigates the truth behind the stories and rumours, and uncovers a tale that tells the viewer uncomfortable truths about life for women under the Taliban, and the harsh realities of their life in ‘free’ Afghanistan.

Moving from witness to witness across Kabul, and then right across the country, Zarmina’s Story pieces together the story of Zarmina’s family and marriage – to a career policeman. The film tracks down her mother shortly before her death, and her sister – and discovers that she left behind seven children. We follow up stories that her two oldest daughters were sold off by her brother-in-law into sex slavery to ‘husbands’ in the tribal areas in south-east Afghanistan.


Directed & Produced by Carla Garapedian
Executive Producer: David Henshaw