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David Edwards, Maliha Zulfacar, Gregory Whitmore
David Edwards lived in Kabul before the communist takeover in 1978. During the Soviet occupation, he spent several years conducting research along the Afghan-Pakistan border and spent time with mujahidin resistance parties in training camps and behind Soviet lines. These experiences became the basis of two books (Heroes of the Age: Moral Fault Lines on the Afghan Frontier and Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad, both published by University of California Press). In early 2001, Edwards and Gregory Whitmore were asked to help preserve an archive of video and photographs shot by Afghan cameramen during the Soviet occupation. This work was featured in a photo and video exhibition at the Asia Society in New York City in the spring of 2002. Following September 11, the Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded Edwards a grant which enabled him to return to Afghanistan to gather the material that would become Kabul Transit.
Maliha Zulfacar is an Afghan-American Sociology professor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States. Zulfacar was a sociology professor at Kabul University before fleeing the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in 1979. In 1985 she settled in California to raise her two children, joined the Cal Poly Social Sciences Department in 1992, and completed her doctorate in sociology in Germany in the late-1990s. Since 2002, Zulfacar has divided her time between Cal Poly, where she teaches classes on gender, international immigration, and global ethnic conflict, and Kabul, where she teaches at Kabul University.
Since the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, she has been involved in the rebuilding of Afghanistan's higher education system to facilitate educational opportunities and, in specific, to support the return of women to schools. She is the co-founder of Kabul University Children Center; Director of the Afghan Educational Outreach project at Cal Poly; Founding member of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies; founder of Reach Out Afghanistan; and Liaison to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education. She is co-director of an oral history project in Afghanistan, financed through a grant from the Open Society Institute. “Kabul Transit” is her second documentary about Afghanistan. Her first, "Guftago: Dialog with an Afghan Village," was made in 2001, documenting her trip with an international delegation of women in 2000. She spent 2007 on sabbatical, serving as Afghanistan’s ambassador to Germany.
Gregory Whitmore is an independent photographer, cinematographer and editor. In the summer of 2001, Whitmore traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan with David Edwards to preserve video and photographs made during the 1980s by Afghan journalists from the Afghan Media Resource Center. Upon returning, he helped to prepare the archive for an exhibit at the Asia Society in NYC. In the years following, Whitmore co-produced a documentary about Biosphere 2, forthcoming in 2007, and shot and edited two short documentaries about contemporary American photographers. Entirely self taught in photography and filmmaking, Whitmore’s only formal schooling in art was a class in color theory he took in high school and 8 months of rebus construction at his integrated deaf pre-school at the age of five.
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