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Development   /  Travis Beard

Cogs of War

Exploring foreign policy in Afghanistan post 9/11, analyzing the military & aid funds spent, the legacy for the Afghans.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Travis Beard

  • PRODUCER Elisabeth Amiel



This film utilizes a balanced cross section of the various types of people who entered Afghanistan during the Western intervention and reflects on their personal reasons for doing so. Starting with Afghan local Zia, a fixer / translator for foreign press, we learn about the nature of the Afghan culture and it’s intoxicating effect on expats. Zia is joined by 7 other characters; the journalist, the aid worker, the soldier, the refugee, the Taliban, the diplomat and the war profiteer. All have different motivations for being in Afghanistan and all are intoxicated by the Afghan culture and topography . As we learn about the courageous human spirit in the face of unrelenting peril, we also learn about the history of the West's foreign policy, what actually happened to the $1+ trillion expenditure, what was achieved, what was lost and what was the human footprint left behind.

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0.73% funded
  • $41,112.00

  • $300.00

  • June 2020

  • 2

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

The cultural and social relevance is never been more pressing than now. The Taliban is in peace talks with both the U.S and Russia. Trump is trying to figure out how to end America's longest modern war. Europe and Australia are being flooded with economical and political refugees. The war continues to take the lives of innocent civilians, Afghan Police, Army and [still] US and NATO soldiers.

Civilian Casualties.
Rampant Corruption
Lack of respect of private space and cultural space by occupying forces
Lack of Rule of Law for both Afghans and Foreigners with access to influence and power
Functionality of current model of democracy enforced on emerging nations
Warlords and Druglords being above the law
Freedom for arms dealers to flood the conflict with more arms and ammunition
Lack of accountability for aid organizational operations


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

This film will analyse foreign policy in Afghanistan. We will raise awareness about the military and aid funds exploited since 9/11. We will highlight the legacy for Afghans once the foreigners left. We will question current Western intervention into emerging nations and whether imposing this model of democracy onto nations - without asking them - is ethical in the 21st Century. Finally we will ask: After all that was gained and lost, was it all worth it?


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

When the war in Afghanistan is over and peace is found for the 30+ million people who have lived in a state of conflict for 40 years. To achieve Peace, equality, stability. Some Afghans and Westerners should be subjected to the international war crimes tribunal. Arms companies should have stronger restrictions against them when dealing internationally. The overall goal is to influence Western powers to review and change their policies towards emerging nations and in particular Muslim nations and societies.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

By the film being shown in schools and universities.
By the film being shown at film festivals, on TV and online.
By the film being shown in diplomatic missions that are stationed in Afghanistan and can implement change.
By the film being shown to the lobby groups that are challenging the arms trade directly.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have partnered up with the Afghan Australian Development Organisation to use any following from our film directed towards the work that AADO does in Afghanistan. Travis worked and lived with AADO back in 2007 and therefore has a strong relationship with the organisations founder Nouria Salehi. Dr Salehi has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours, announced today. She received this award for: Significant service to the Afghan, migrant and refugee communities. Together our team and AADO meet regularly and discuss the plight of the Afghans both inside the country and those spread out across the world and we formulate film strategies that will help with their mission as much as films success.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

They will share the film in their network
Host a Community Screenings
The will research the issues deeper for themselves
Discussions with friends and family about issues highlighted
Disseminate information
They will write letters to the local and federal politicians
They will start campaigns
Stage peaceful protests

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

To stop war and conflict enacted by the West on emerging nations.
To stop arms industries from having such powerful lobby and control over Western governments decisions.
Force Policy change in governments
Change in government and international laws
Effect in shares and sanctions against arms companies
More transparent audit of Aid budgets and assessment of management