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Kandahar, Saskatchewan

8,000 BC – The Quill Lakes were formed by retreating glaciers over 10,000 years ago. These saline lakes support an ecosystem of shrimp and provide vast wetlands for ducks & geese.

1882 – In June 1882, the first Icelandic families came to Fishing Lake and the surrounding area. The majority were attracted by the plenty of hay and water in the region. More settlements followed, creating the largest Icelandic settlement outside of Iceland.

1888 – The town of Kandahar, Saskatchewan was named by Canadian Pacific Railway executives in honour of the late 19th century British military victory in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

1900-1988 – Until the 1970s, Kandahar was a thriving town with three grain elevators and several places of business, including a popular steakhouse where former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker often liked to dine. However, in the late 1980s the village’s school closed, and Kandahar’s population steadily declined.

2005 – While working at a hotel in Vancouver, Canada, Abdul Bari Jamal learns of the existence of Kandahar, Saskatchewan. After a brief visit to the hamlet, he decides to buy land in the tiny town of 19, one plot for each member of his family.

2014-2019 – Aisha Jamal decides to tell the story of her family and its relationship to Kandahar Saskatchewan. After working on the story for a number of years, she secures the funding to make the film ‘A Kandahar Away’. Production on the film begins in 2017.

2017-2018 – The entire Jamal family visit Kandahar, Saskatchewan in the fall of 2017. There they meet many of the local residents, while exploring the small-town culture of this area of Canada’s Prairies.

Kandahar, Afghanistan

329 BC – Kandahar – Formerly ‘Alexandrial Arachosia’ was founded by Alexander the Great in 329 BC around an ancient Arachosian town. Once the Afghan capital, Kandahar, Afghanistan has moved through a long succession of leaders, conquerors and empires.

1880 – Britain fought three colonial wars in Afghanistan from 1839 to 1919. Part of these wars includes the “The Battle of Kandahar,” which took place on the first of September, 1880. This battle ended the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

1919 – Afghanistan gained its full independence in 1919. The Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 is still commemorated every year in Afghanistan on August 19 as Afghan Independence Day.

1921-1980 – Afghanistan entered a period of relative peace. World leaders visited and Afghanistan is ‘discovered’ by many so-called hippies of western society, eager to explore the unique culture of this ancient land and society.

1990 – Much unrest in Afghanistan between different regions, leaders and factions finally resulted in an occupation and invasion by the Russian military. At the end of the Russian invasion and before the civil war reaches its height, Abdul Bari decides to leave Afghanistan and move to Montreal, Canada. The family eventually settled in Vancouver, followed by a slow move to Toronto.

2001-2019 – In the wake of 9/11, the US led a coalition of nations – including Canada – in the invasion of Afghanistan in October of 2001. Afghanistan’s Taliban government is defeated, and by spring 2006 Canada took a leading role in the regional command of the South, basing the majority of its military force in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Beginning in 2011, Canada started withdrawing its troops, formally completing its mission in March of 2014. The war in Afghanistan marked the longest active military engagement in Canadian history.