Spanish SVOD platform Movistar+ wowed viewers at the Málaga Film Festival on Tuesday with the first episode of “La Unidad Kabul,” the third season of its special police unit thriller.
The latest instalment is set in Afghanistan, where Spanish agents are on a new mission to meet an infiltrator with information about a possible attack in Europe.
The elite unit is in the war-torn country as the U.S. ends its 20-year occupation, leaving Kabul to be taken by the Taliban. As Spanish authorities begin the evacuation of civilians and collaborators, the agents get caught up in clashes between the Taliban, Mujahideen and Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) forces.
Speaking in Málaga, Dani de la Torre, who created the show with Alberto Marini, said it was important for the creative team to focus specifically on Afghanistan this season. “It was not that long ago – in 2021 that the West abandoned Afghanistan and the Taliban took control of the country.
Because “La Unidad” has focused on terrorism in Europe since its inception, de la Torre said it was also important to look at the origins of terrorism, where it comes from and how it develops.
He noted that Spanish authorities were able to bring many humanitarian aid workers, former police officers and refugees to Spain. Putting the focus on Afghanistan can help explain some of the problems in Europe that have their roots in distant lands.
“A lot of times the problems that come here have their origins in other countries, in other cultures. … It’s also very important to know where the problems come from in order to solve them. Likewise, it’s important to look at how the Taliban took power, how they are violating the rights of people in Afghanistan, particularly women.”
Having the series set in Afghanistan also allows viewers to see everything that is happening in the country, he added.
While the first two seasons dealt with terrorism coming to Europe, Season 3 takes the viewer to its place of origin. “Why do these things happen? When they arrive here, they come as refugees, they are utilized politically and in the end they are also victims of conflicts. And why are these conflicts produced? We went there to see how the conflicts begin. They have nothing there – it’s a terrible situation. They lose their rights and sometimes their lives. And sometimes they come here and they have nothing to lose and have nothing to do.”
De la Torre pointed out that the West was also responsible for the situation, stressing that the U.S.’ 20-year occupation allowed Western corporations to exploit Afghanistan, from pharmaceutical companies harvesting opium to mining companies taking valuable minerals. “When they are interested, they are there. When they lose interest, they leave.”
“Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq – we have so many examples of countries that have been ravaged with our participation. Those errors come back to haunt us. It’s happened here in Spain.”
“La Unidad Kabul” features series mainstays Nathalie Poza, Marian Álvarez, Michel Noher and Fariba Sheikhan and new cast members Mehdi Regragui, Shabnam Rahimi and Reyhane Noori.
Sold internationally by Beta Film, “La Unidad” is available on HBO and was acquired by Warner Bros. Discovery for Latin America and TV3 Group Baltics.