Kabul Cinema Hall Destroyed Despite Opposition by Artists

The Kabul Municipality has begun destruction of the Park Cinema despite widespread criticism by some Afghan artists, actors and filmmakers.

Director of the Afghan Film, a government-run department serving for movie production, Sahra Karimi, who staged a set-in inside the cinema, was pulled out of the complex forcefully on Monday night. A video that went viral on social media shows that Karimi cries and says the policemen assaulted her. “There was a policewoman too and kicked me out of the cinema by force.”

The First Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, who ordered the destruction of the cinema, said that the building of the cinema had become a safe shelter for the drug addicts.

An official at the VP’s office, Rizwan Murad said that a cultural center or a library would be established instead of the cinema. “Those opposing the reconstruction have never taken a look at the cinema to see at which condition it was,” he added. “A hall would be built based on people’s wish and demand.”

Moreover, Kabul Municipality Spokeswoman, Samira Rasa said that people’s view would be held in construction of the cultural center. “The municipality has a scheme,” she said. “But based on VP’s order, the people’s view would be included in the scheme.”

The Park Cinema was constructed in 1995 in the era of King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan. The demolition of the cinema faced widespread criticism by the members of the Afghan film industries.

An Afghan singer Farhad Darya in a letter to Saleh urged him to prevent the demolition of the cinema. He compared the act as similar to the collapse of Buda scripture by the Taliban regime in Bamyan province.

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