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Mission

Kabul-Luftbruecke

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban take power in Afghanistan, and two weeks later the last U.S. Air Force plane leaves Kabul. The military evacuation is over. But there are still tens of thousands of people in the country who need an airlift because their lives are in danger as local staff, media workers, artists or human rights activists.

Many of them hope for “Kabul-Luftbruecke” – a Berlin NGO that, on its own initiative, evacuates people from Afghanistan because, as local employees, media workers or human rights activists, their lives are imperiled. Those who have an admission to Germany can turn to the initiative and wait for safe passage to leave Kabul for Pakistan in the shadow of the night.

The series documents how former local staff manage to leave the country, how children who were separated from their parents during the flight hope for a reunion and how young women decide to no longer bow to the Taliban’s dictates.

By Vanessa Schlesier, Ronald Rist and Antje Boehmert.

Episode 1: Kabul September 2021: “Kabul-Luftbruecke” is preparing a first convoy for local staff, Army translators and human rights defenders who must flee the country. The airport is closed and the situation is tense. The only chance seems to be the land route via the border crossing in Torkham. But is the border town with Pakistan, 230 kilometers east of Kabul, really a safe option?

Episode 2: Torkham November 2021: To prove to the public, and especially to the German government, that it is possible to evacuate endangered people by air to Islamabad, “Kabul-Luftbruecke” charters an aircraft. At the same time, however, evacuations by minibus continue. Five unaccompanied minors must be evacuated as quickly as possible. 

Episode 3: Islamabad February 2022: An initial meeting between representatives of civil society, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Interior and Community on a federal admission program for Afghanistan is postponed due to the Russian attack on Ukraine. At the same time, the situation in Afghanistan becomes more and more threatenting: the new rulers search houses and burn documents. “Kabul-Luftbruecke” tries maintaining the pressure for an admission program. 

Episode 4: Berlin The wrangling continues over the federal admission program. In the midst of these talks comes the news: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will travel to Islamabad. Will she find time to visit one of the “Kabul-Luftbruecke” guesthouses? In Kabul, the man who for months has been helping to evacuate people decides to leave his home country. He, too, is struggling to obtain a visa to leave.

A series by Vanessa Schlesier, Ronald Rist, Antje Boehmert

DoP Vanessa Schlesier
Additional Camera Knut Schmitz, Sven Klöpper, Eva Beyer, Vanessa Juercke, Herta Mirea, Katharina Schiele
Sound and  Producing Nele Huff
Editor Ronald Rist
Story Consultant Katharina Schiele
Color Grading Knut Schmitz
Music Tim Stanzel
Mix Stanislaw Milkowski
Translations Omar Haidari, Marzia Panahi
Line Producer Ko Miklik
Executive Producer Antje Boehmert
Line Producer rbb Günter Thimm
Commissioning Editor Ute Beutler

A Production by DOCDAYS Productions for rbb 

Length: 4 x 30 Min
Release Date: 2022

“Kabul-Luftbruecke” is a Berlin NGO that, on its own initiative, evacuates people from Afghanistan because, as local employees, media workers or human rights activists, their lives are imperiled. The series documents how former local staff manage to leave the country, how children who were separated from their parents during the flight hope for a reunion and how young women decide to no longer bow to the Taliban’s dictates.

By Vanessa Schlesier, Ronald Rist and Antje Boehmert.

A series by Vanessa Schlesier, Ronald Rist, Antje Boehmert

DoP Vanessa Schlesier
Additional Camera Knut Schmitz, Sven Klöpper, Eva Beyer, Vanessa Juercke, Herta Mirea, Katharina Schiele
Sound and  Producing Nele Huff
Editor Ronald Rist
Story Consultant Katharina Schiele
Color Grading Knut Schmitz
Music Tim Stanzel
Mix Stanislaw Milkowski
Translations Omar Haidari, Marzia Panahi
Line Producer Ko Miklik
Executive Producer Antje Boehmert
Line Producer rbb Günter Thimm
Commissioning Editor Ute Beutler

A Production by DOCDAYS Productions for rbb 

Length: 4 x 30 Min
Release Date: 2022