Foreign Policy Blogs

Film Review – 'Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi (2009)'

Fellow FPA blogger of Global Film Review, Sean Patrick Murphy has reviewed a recent Afghan film called the ‘Fixer’. Here it is!:

This film paints a grim picture of life in Afghanistan.  It starts with Naqshbandi’s relationship with American journalist Christian Parenti. Naqshbandi is also a journalist and is called a “fixer” because he facilitates interviews and translates for foreign journalists.  Naqshbandi is later kidnapped by Taliban forces along with Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo and a driver. The driver is immediately beheaded.

It is at this point that the film shows the frustration on the part of Naqshbandi’s family who wait in vain for the government of Hamid Karzai to trade prisoners for him.
It is shocking how the Afghan government arranges for the release of Mastrogiacomo but sits on its hands when it comes to Naqshbandi, a native of Afghanistan. Naqshbandi’s father, who is shown prominently in the film, wonders why his government pushed so strongly for the release of a foreigner but refused to negotiate with the Taliban for his son’s freedom.
This movie is similar to “A Mighty Heart,” which was released in 2007. In that film, the wife of journalist Daniel Pearl desperately seeks him out when he is kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002.
Naqshbandi’s father has lost faith in his government which is apparently riddled with corruption and says the Taliban is not truly Muslim but “savages.”


“Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi” shows how little control the central government has in the provinces and how strong the Taliban is in Afghanistan.
This film is one more bleak chapter in Afghanistan’s history.
“Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi” is now being shown on HBO.

Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]