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Streaming Video Guides

Use this guide to find streaming alternatives to Media Services DVDs.


Titles Available as of July 2022

This is a selective list of streaming video holdings in the American University Library. Streaming guides are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date streaming holdings, please refer to our streaming catalog.

Afghan Intervention: The Trap

In 1979 the Soviet army entered Afghanistan to fight against the Islamic mujahideen in the Afghan civil war. But even after ten long years, massive Soviet firepower failed to break their resistance. Afghanistan has a proud legacy of resisting foreign invaders - with the arrival of NATO forces, will history repeat itself? Filmmaker Jeff B. Harmon and cameraman Alexander Lindsay dodged bullets and risked kidnap to create this definitive look at the Soviet war in Afghanistan, raising powerful questions about the subsequent conflict there.

Afghan Star

After thirty years of war and five devastating years of Taliban rule, pop culture is beginning to return to Afghanistan. Since 2005, millions have been tuning in to Tolo TV's wildly popular American Idol-style series Afghan Star. Like its Western predecessors, contestants compete for a cash prize and record deal. More surprisingly, the contest is open to everyone across the country despite gender, ethnicity or age. And when viewers vote for their favorites via cell phone, it is, for many, their first encounter with the democratic process.This timely and moving film follows the dramatic stories of four young finalists-two men and two very brave women-as they hazard everything to become the nation's favorite performer. 

An Afghan Village: Aq Kupruk, Northern Afghanistan 

Presents a collage of daily life in Aq Kupruk including the single voice calling townspeople to prayer, the brisk exchange of the bazaar, communal labor, and the uninhibited sports and enertainment of rural Afghans.

Afghan Women

The words of the women of Aq Kupruk, Afghanistan and the rhythm of their lives in seclusion suggest both satisfying and limiting aspects of the women's role in an Afghan rural community.

Afghanistan: Breaking Point

In this program from Iran's PressTV, a news crew travels throughout Afghanistan to learn first-hand how people there feel about the foreign presence in their country. The journalists find anger and frustration in Kandahar, much of it directed against the Americans, who they blame for dividing the loyalties of Afghan tribes. In Kabul the immediate concern is not foreign policy, but trying to feed families as aid shipments are diverted by corrupt middlemen. And while some in Jalalabad express gratitude towards the countries that have arrived to help, one citizen sums up the feelings of many: "They haven't come here to rebuild Afghanistan, they have come to exploit it.

Afghanistan: Girl Power!

I think when you are born a woman in Afghanistan, says Kabul native Noorjahan Akbar, "you are taught every day to hate yourself." But, as this film illustrates, Akbar is in no danger of falling into that self-hatred trap. The youthful activist counsels victims of misogynist brutality and has helped establish Young Women for Change, an organization dedicated to improving the lives and human rights of Afghan women. The documentary also features a profile of Trudi-Ann Tierney, an Australian producer who creates shows for Kabul's Tolo TV network. Tierney's difficulties in promoting a progressive image of women, and even in ensuring the safety of female performers, echo the ongoing hurdles Afghanistan faces as a torn and violent nation.

Afghanistan is a Lost Cause: A Debate

Soon after taking office in 2009, President Obama ordered an additional 17,000 troops and another 30,000 at year's end in the hopes of stanching a rapidly deteriorating situation. Has the surge failed, or does it need time to take its course? Panelists debate the consequences of U.S. withdrawal, the degree of progress, and the chances of success of counterinsurgency. They debate whether the Taliban is a threat to the U.S. and discuss whether it is still a movement of ideological religious zealots. Was the Iraq surge a success? Are its lessons applicable in Afghanistan? They debate whether Afghan public opinion is on the side of the U.S. and the Karzai government.

Afghanistan 1979: The War That Changed the World

The Soviet troops' intervention in Afghanistan was a pivotal event in the history of the 20th century. It launched Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

Afghanistan: On Thin Ice

A budding ski industry has sprung up in the remote alps of Afghanistan. But this enterprise - and the local people - face the menace of a resurgent Taliban.

Afghanistan Through Women's Eyes

Afghanistan through Women's Eyes offers an intimate portrait of Afghanistan's silenced women as we see the conflict and history of Afghanistan through their eyes. The film visits the secret schools, orphanages and clinics of RAWA, the Revolutionary Afghan Women's Association, a feminist group that has been working both inside and outside of Afghanistan for many years, struggling for women's rights. Their revolution is through ideas, education and health, and they will not let their voices go unheard..

Afghanistan Unveiled

Filmed by the first ever team of women video journalists trained in Afghanistan, this rare and uncompromising film explores the effects of the Taliban's repressive rule and U.S.-sponsored bombing campaign on Afghani women. None of the fourteen journalist trainees had ever traveled outside Kabul. Except for one, none had been able to study or pursue careers while the Taliban controlled their country.. Leaving Kabul behind for the more rural regions of the country, the filmmakers present heartbreaking footage of Hazara women whose lives have been decimated by recent events. With little food and no water or electricity, these women have been left to live in caves and fend for themselves, abandoned in the wake of the U.S. invasion. While committed to revealing such tragedies to the world, the filmmakers also manage to find moving examples of hope for the future. A poetic journey of self-discovery, AFGHANISTAN UNVEILED is a revelatory and profound reminder of the independent media's power to bear witness and reveal truth.

Afghanistan's Opium Trail

Explores the opium industry in Afghanistan: cultivation, processing, smuggling and heroin use.

Back to Nadia: Becoming a "Boy" for Survival in Afghanistan

Returning from the hospital after the suicide bombing that killed her brother, eleven-year-old Nadia has an epiphany: she will pretend to be a boy, assuming her brother's identity and name in order to support her family. In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan where women and girls are not allowed to work outside the home, Nadia spends eleven years masquerading as her brother Esmerai before ultimately escaping to Europe and reclaiming her identity as a female. Back to Nadia is the fascinating story of gender and personal transformation in a society that leaves women with few options for freedom and autonomy.

Behind Taliban Lines

This past fall, veteran Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi negotiated extraordinary access to a militant cell in northern Afghanistan with longtime ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. For 10 days, Quraishi would live among the hard-core fighters of Hezb-i-Islami's "Central Group" as they attempt to bomb a highway that has become a vital new coalition supply route. ... In Behind Taliban Lines, FRONTLINE provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the growing insurgency in Afghanistan -- a first-ever film among these militants as they travel from village to village, picking up support and weapons, imposing sharia law and collecting taxes as they open up a new battlefront in Afghanistan's northern provinces

The Black Tulip

The Black Tulip is what the "Afgantsi" - the Soviet soldiers who fought in Afghanistan - call the plane that carried the bodies back to the Soviet Union. Opening at a Soviet army base in Kabul, the film visits an attack helicopter squadron, a firebase outside Kabul, and a guardpost near Kandahar. Then the film moves to the monument to the war dead of WWII beside the Kremlin wall, to a Moscow cemetery filled with dead from the Afghan war, and finally, to the heartbreak of a mother of one of the dead soldiers. The film was shot in 1987, in collaboration with Novosti Press Agency. In 1988 the completed program aired on PBS and 15 other networks around the world, and was widely distributed in the underground video market in the USSR and East Europe, where it played a very small part in the collapse of the Soviet system.... While the Soviet intervention in the Afghan civil war is now history, The Black Tulip transcends the particular to become a moving meditation on the costs and sorrow of all wars.

Blood Antiquities 

The European art trade, synonymous with wealth and glamor, has always involved a degree of stolen and smuggled art. Now, Afghanistan's rich cultural heritage is financing terrorism and the Taliban. From Afghans scrabbling in the sand for treasures, to the dazzling show rooms of unscrupulous dealers and private collectors. 'Blood Antiques' uncovers one of the most outrageous illegal trades since blood diamonds.

Blue Ghosts: Women's Rights in Afghanistan 

After the September 11 attacks the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan, citing the liberation of the region's women as part of the justification for Operation Enduring Freedom. Five weeks later Laura Bush triumphantly stated that "because of our recent gains in Afghanistan, women are no longer imprisoned in their homes." But had anything really changed? As Suraya Pakzad, director of Afghan Voice of Women put it, "Village men will still trade a daughter for a dog." In this powerful program Pakzad discusses her country's ongoing struggle for women's rights. Viewers also hear from Western policy experts, and from male Afghan officials who deny that social, educational, and economic discrimination against the female half of their population remains a problem.

The Boxing Girls of Kabul

This documentary film depicts a group of young Afghan women striving to become world-class boxers and training without the most basic facilities in the national stadium where the Taliban has recently executed women. Though they are loyal to their country, they dare to defy its traditions. Inspired by their tenacious coach, these courageous boxers openly dream of their future, and even a shot at the Olympics. Committed to a challenging regime and enduring family and societal pressures to abandon their training, the women are determined to fight their way onto an international stage. This film shadows them closely over the course of a year so viewers have the chance to know them both as individuals and as a team of competitors punching well above their weight. The Boxing Girls of Kabul reveals a compelling journey of both personal and political transformation and illustrates the power of fighting for what you believe inches.

Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror

Journalist John Pilger investigates the discrepancies between claims by Great Britain and the United States about the War on Terrorism and the facts as he uncovers them in Afghanistan and in the United States. In Afghanistan Pilger illustrates how the people suffer because the old warlords are regaining power, religious fundamentalism is rising, and military skirmishes continue routinely; he concludes that the Taliban is re-emerging and that Al-Qaida is still active.

Burqa and the Confused Afghan

Through an engaging journey, Afghan-Canadian filmmaker Brishkay Ahmed unveils the origins of the mysterious burqa and exposes the burqa's current use as a political tool, manipulating Afghan women while revealing the forgotten history of Afghanistan.

Cooking in the Danger Zone: Afghanistan 

Stefan cooks his way around war-torn Afghanistan, discovering local dishes and finding out how the country's reconstruction is going. He narrowly avoids being blown up by abandoned Soviet scud missiles, eats fat-tailed sheep with a former Taliban commander and samples US army rations.

The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan

As the West pours billions of dollars into the fight against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, an ancient tradition (banned when the Taliban were in power) has re-emerged across the rest of the country. Hundreds of young boys living in extreme poverty are lured off the streets on the promise of a life away from destitution, unaware that their real fate is to be used for entertainment and sex. They are the "Bacha Bereesh", literally "beardless boys", chosen for their height, size, and beauty to sing and dance before an audience prior to being traded among the warlords and powerful men of Afghanistan. Bought and sold by their rich masters, most will suffer grotesquely: exhibited like a new horse or camel, beaten, and raped. All efforts by the authorities to eradicate the practice have failed largely because the authorities themselves are involved. Having gained remarkable access inside a sexual exploitation ring, award-winning Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi investigates this illegal practice, the consequences of which are shrouded by a focus on the war. The film exposes the lack of support from those in authority and explores possible responses to the plight of children in this conflict zone.

A Darkness Visible

Based upon 14 trips to Afghanistan between 1994 and 2010, A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan is the work of renowned photojournalist Seamus Murphy. His work chronicles a people caught in time and again in political turmoil, struggling to find their way.

Embedded in Afghanistan

After being shot in the chest while embedded as a journalist in Afghanistan, John D. McHugh was determined to show what life is really like for the U.S. troops stationed there. From managing a dysfunctional Afghan army to the media blackout on showing wounded American soldiers to countering sophisticated Taliban attacks, this intimate documentary brings together a series of themes that have come to define the Afghan conflict.

Families in Afghanistan

Zamora, 13, lives in the country with her parents, three sisters, two brothers and two uncles. Her family feels the effects of recent wars, caring for an uncle who was injured by a landmine. Madina, 12, lives in Kabul with her parents, two sisters, uncle and cousin. Her father, who is an engineer, and her mother, a doctor, have rebuilt their home and reunited their family after 10 years of exile in Pakistan due to civil war and invasion.

Flora's Afghan Mission: Politician to Humanitarian 

When Carole MacNeil went to Afghanistan in 2008, she and her team were eager to find the "real" Afghanistan-the places not normally seen on the news, the people who are trying to make their lives work in the wake of decades of war and an American-led invasion. This documentary goes beyond the military perspective and explores the humanitarian work of Flora MacDonald. This former foreign affairs minister is helping to rebuild the war-torn nation through small-scale, highly practical rural initiatives, including school building, micro-hydro plants, reforestation efforts, and local governance projects. One key component of all Flora's work is to encourage self-sufficiency for the Afghan people, an approach that gets high marks from other humanitarian workers and the Afghan people themselves.

Frontrunner: The Afghan Woman Who Surprised the World

The heroic story of the first woman to run for president of Afghanistan, this program profiles Dr. Massouda Jalal and the campaign that inspired thousands to participate in the democratic process. Cameras follow Jalal as she canvasses at mosques, homes, marketplaces, and radio stations, determined to "wake up the mentality" of those who see no leadership role for women in Afghanistan. Running a campaign without the massive resources backing main opponent Hamid Karzai, fielding death threats, and coping with election-day irregularities, Jalal understands that making a bid for the presidency is in itself a "win" - her actions moved more than 500 women to run for Parliament just a few months later. The video also provides a rare look at how a low-literacy country that has relied on tribal elders for decision-making educates its citizens about voting and conducts an election.

Hidden Gems

Afghanistan is not only a country in perpetual turmoil, but also a geological miracle. Can they now harness 1,000 billion Euros worth of natural resources in order to lift the nation out of poverty?

Inside Afghanistan

Shot in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Spinbuldak, and the Afghan countryside in 1987, this film is a look at the *other* side of the war in Afghanistan - the Communist government and its supporters.

Kabul Transit

In the broken cityscape of Kabul, Afghanistan, amid the dust and rubble of war, Westerners and Afghans adjust to the uncertain possibilities of peace. The film shuttles through the broken streets of the city, moving between public space and private, listening in on conversations, posing questions, probing the darker alleys mainstream media avoids. Rejecting the usual device of narration and portraiture, the film asks the viewer to experience Kabul as a newly arrived visitor would.

Kites: The Story of Kabul's Young Video Producers

Kites tells the story of Kabul's budding young video producers. Through a combination of the students' videos and their mentor Jacek Szaranski's artful camera work, this film looks at the use of video and high tech in a world usually associated with war and arch conservatism. Under the Taliban, it was forbidden to show pictures of human beings, let alone for young women to operate video cameras. The documentary introduces young Afghans and shows their skill with their cameras. Interestingly, they don't film barbed wire or military bases. Instead, they focus their lenses on their daily lives. They show their neighbors and children flying kites. The result is a film at times funny and at others sadly moving.

The Last Outpost: Afghanistan 

The Last Outpost: Afghanistan tells the story of the U.S. effort to build up the Afghan army, America's only real exit strategy. Shot from the ground and on the frontlines, the film chronicles the war through the portrait of two Afghans and an American soldier in an embedded team of 130 Afghans. The two cinematographers/directors, Tim Grucza and Yuri Maldavski, spent a month and a half with the soldiers in a tiny outpost by the Pakistan border looking into Waziristan. Ultimately, the film is a look at the absurdity of the war and the impossibility of the fight. It will also explore the psychology, motivation, and identity of soldier allies fighting a common enemy but radically opposed in their cultures and ways of life.

Love Crimes of Kabul

At Afghanistan's Badam Bagh Women's Prison, half the inmates are jailed for "moral crimes." Though these would hardly be considered punishable crimes in the western world, behavior in Afghanistan is strictly controlled by an ideology of honor, and transgression can bring ruin to an entire family. Although both men and women can be arrested for moral crimes, women are seen as particular threats to the fabric of society, and must be punished if they stray off the moral path. In this program we meet several of the women awaiting trial at Badam Bagh, including a 20-year-old who is pregnant after having pre-marital sex, and seeks to marry her lover; a 23-year-old who ran away from a violent home; and an 18-year-old who fell in love with her neighbor, and stands accused of sleeping with him. If convicted, each could face up to 20 years in jail - sentences that could be greatly reduced if both parties agree to marry, which is considered the only morally acceptable outcome.

Malalai: One Woman's Struggle for Recognition in Afghanistan 

Kandahar is the Taliban's former stronghold, a mecca for drugs, smugglers, and terrorists - and home to Malalai Kakar, who rose through the ranks to become Afghanistan's first female police officer. In this dangerous, male-oriented world, she is blazing the way for women. Trailed by her meek brother and unhindered by her heavy burka, she subverts all stereotypes. Under her tough exterior, the policewoman remains a daughter, a mother of six, and a wife. She tries not to worry her family with the death threats she receives and never discusses her work at home. This documentary follows Malalai for a week as she chases wifebeaters, murderers, and thieves across Afghanistan.

Motherland Afghanistan 

Filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi and her father, Dr. Qudrat Mojadidi, are Afghans who have made a home in the United States. After the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban, Dr. Mojadidi, a specialist in women's health, decides to return to his war-ravaged homeland to help rebuild and modernize the hospitals and clinics that serve the women of Afghanistan. Sedika, camera in hand, accompanies her father to document this most difficult, yet rewarding journey. The result is "Motherland Afghanistan", an inspiring portrait of dedication and fortitude in some of the harshest and most unforgiving physical, political, and cultural terrain on earth.

Naim and Jabar

Focuses on the friendship and activities of two adolescent Afghan boys, Naim and Jabar. One goes to a secondary school away from home and the two are shown visiting the city as well as working in Aq Kupruk.

Nel: Return to Kabul

Twenty-one-year-old Nel has lived in Britain since she was six, after her family fled Afghanistan's violence and oppression. She has always felt a strong connection with her native country and longs to know what her life would have been like had she grown up there. This film tells the intimate and moving story of Nel's return to Afghanistan on a quest for answers. In Kabul, she sees the face of the country with her own eyes and through those of her cousin-who, despite being one of a handful of female lecturers at Kabul University, accepts the fact that her marriage will be arranged. Outside the capital, behind the closed doors of hospital wards and prisons, Nel discovers a world of extreme violence against women and gains a new understanding of why her family decided to leave.

A New Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

President Obama lays out his plans for a comprehensive and regional approach to Afghanistan and Pakistan, from military support to developmental aid.

Opium Brides

Unexpected victims have been caught in the crossfire of attempts to eradicate Afghanistan's flourishing drug trade: young farm girls. Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world's illicit opium. Opium farmers have long borrowed money from drug gangs, some with links to the Taliban, to subsidize their crops. Now, as the Afghan government destroys their livelihood in an eradication program, the farmers find themselves in a horrifying situation: repay their debts or give their daughters to drug traffickers, often to be used for sex. Award-winning Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi reports on the harrowing story of families torn apart and the collateral damage of the counter-narcotics effort in Afghanistan. Also in this program, a timely encore broadcast: FRONTLINE crosses the border into Pakistan, where correspondents Stephen Grey and Martin Smith go inside The Secret War against the militants. They uncover evidence of covert support for elements of the Taliban by the Pakistani military and its intelligence service, the ISI. At a safe house not far from where Osama bin Laden was killed, they make contact with one mid-level Taliban commander who tells FRONTLINE, "If they really wanted to, [the Pakistanis] could arrest us all in an hour.

Prayers of a Warlord

For the first time a warlord opens his doors and takes us on an intimate tour to the heart of the Afghan feudal system. Mamour Hasan governs 50,000 people in Dash-Te-Qalah, in the north east corner of Afghanistan. They are largely Tajik and Pashtun. Gray bearded and mild mannered, with an army 10,000 strong, his authority is unchallenged. 

President Obama on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan 

President Obama outlines his strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.


Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan's most strategically crucial valleys reveals extraordinary insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights, and camaraderie as the soldiers painfully push back the Taliban. 

Return to Kandahar 

Nelofer Pazira, star of the feature film 'Kandahar', returns to Afghanistan to search for her childhood friend Dyana, whose story inspired this film. While searching for her friend, Nelofer unravels her past and the troubled history of her country.

Sons of Haji Omar

Haji Omar and his three sons belong to the Lakankhel, a Pashtoon tribal group in northeastern Afghanistan. The film focuses on his family: Haji Omar, the patriarch; Anwar, the eldest, his father's favorite, a pastoralist and expert horseman; Jannat Gul, cultivator and ambitious rebel; and Ismail, the youngest, attending school with a view to a job as a government official.

State of the Talib

This documentary, filmed in early 2001, takes viewers to the villages of Afghanistan to explore Taliban ideology and examine life under Taliban rule. After years of anarchy, the promise of a pure Islamic government seemed attractive to many, but the regime's brutal abuse of basic human rights has changed the lives of the Afghan people for the worse. The film also looks at Afghanistan's relations with Pakistan, from where the Taliban draw much support, and resistance to the Taliban's oppressive regime from Iran and other Muslim countries.

Stone Silence: Muslim Law in Afghanistan 

This is the story of Amina, a girl from the village of Spingule tucked away in northern Afghanistan, who has been stoned to death for infidelity. Before the dust has settled, her community - those guilty of her brutal killing - is already closing in on itself. A wall of silence now surrounds the village. Caught in the house of a man who was not her husband, Amina has been sentenced according to Muslim law, and the village wastes no time in carrying out the sentence. Through interviews with Amina's family and with her lover, this powerful and moving documentary pierces the veil of shame and secrecy that surrounds her death.

Taliban Country

FRONTLINE presents two special reports from around the world. First, an on-the-ground story about the U.S. peace effort in Afghanistan that includes an unprecedented interview with the Taliban's lead negotiator. Then an investigation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists examining how Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos became Africa's richest woman.

Television Around the World: Afghanistan 

In Kabul the sale of TVs is booming, and despite near-daily power outages, many Afghans spend a lot of time watching programs from Turkey, the U.S., or India or from one of the country's own local stations. This film explores the array of viewing options available in Afghanistan and talks to professionals working in its media industry-which is thriving in the post-Taliban era. Why is television so important now? Who funds local programming, and what messages does it broadcast? Award-winning writer Atiq Rahimi comments on some positive impacts TV has had on young people; and a female broadcaster says that although women now have a presence on the airwaves, they still have a long way to go.

U.S. - Afghanistan Relations: Gaining Perspective

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. In this program, ABC News correspondent Chris Bury shows how that Arab adage sums up America's relation to Afghanistan since the Cold War. Given the calamity, U.S. support to the mujahideen and the subsequent abandonment of Afghanistan upon the Soviet Union's defeat are discussed by Frank Anderson, head of the CIA's Afghan task force in the 1980s; Charles Wilson, former U.S. Congressman and proponent of Afghan support; Ben Rooney, a reporter with The Telegraph who covered the Afghan/Soviet war; Tom Carew, a former British SAS soldier who helped train the Afghan army; and two veterans from both sides of the Afghan/Soviet war.

View From a Grain of Sand: Portrait of a Divided Afghanistan

This is the story of how Afghan women have had their rights stripped from them over the last 30 years. Told through the eyes of three women, this film covers recent Afghan history from the point of view of those who suffered most. Too often silenced, these women share their memories, hopes, and fears with viewers. Their personal stories are combined with rarely seen archival footage to create a powerful and evocative portrait of a divided nation. Although women are officially allowed an education, at the time the Fundamentalists were in power, there is such a lack of security many would not leave their homes.

Weekly Address: Ending the War in Afghanistan and Rebuilding America 

President Obama discusses how we will end the war in Afghanistan and how our goal of ensuring that al Qaeda never again uses Afghanistan to launch attacks against America is within reach.

Wheat Cycle

The people and their labor are bound to the land in the cycle of activities to the sowing to the harvesting of wheat. Without narration or subtitles, the film conveys a sense of unity between the people and the land.