Reflections of Afghanistan

Long before it became the infamous epicenter of our war on terrorism, Afghanistan was an exotic, remote locale — one that was perfect for the right movie.

PASSIONS’ Leigh Taylor-Young (Katherine) fondly recalls her time spent there filming THE HORSEMEN with Omar Sharif. “I became a guest of their then-King, who is now in his 80s and lives in Italy,” explains Taylor-Young. “I stayed with him while making the movie and I got to see [the Buddha statues] before they were bombed by the Taliban, and I got to live with the very people who became a part of the [Taliban] years later. John Frankenheimer (who directed the film) sent me to study and live amongst them. I got to know the people of Afghanistan from their heart and core, and it’s something that I’m blessed to know because in my lifetime that view of Afghanistan will not be recaptured. The Afghan people, oh, my God, are they phenomenal people! I fell in love with that country so deeply that I wept for months after my return in longing and missing for the people, the culture. I didn’t miss the Islamic aspect of it that was deeply dangerous; they were so against women. I could go on and on, but it’s an amazing, amazing culture.

“Having stood on top of those 150 foot Buddhas myself and knowing what they meant as a wonder of the world — that the Taliban exploded them was sheer devastation. I wept for a long time over that. But Afghanistan will re-emerge as a place of peace, and that’s the vision I hold.”

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