Kamran Shah: The Bond Ally Fighting for Afghanistan
Kamran Shah is a captivating character from the 1987 James Bond film, The Living Daylights (1987). Brought to life by Pakistani-born British actor Art Malik, Shah is the Deputy Commander of the Afghan Mujaheddin’s Eastern District amidst the tumultuous Soviet-Afghan War.
He meets Bond while they’re both locked up in a Soviet cell, and they join forces to help bring down General Koskov and Brad Whitaker‘s empire.
Kamran Shah, an Oxford-educated Deputy Commander in the Mujaheddin, actively battles the Soviet Army in Afghanistan’s remote eastern valleys, an area known for smuggling routes into Pakistan’s tribal zones.
During a reconnaissance mission on a Soviet airbase, he’s captured and imprisoned for theft. Despite a failed appeal to the airbase commander, Colonel Feyador, his execution is thwarted when James Bond, unaware of Shah’s identity, helps him in escaping during his own escape.
While they’re leaving the airbase, Bond and his love interest, Kara Milovy, encounter the Mujaheddin. Shah intervenes and assures the Mujaheddin they’re not Soviets. He then escorts them to his base, revealing himself as the local leader.
Bond seeks his aid to disrupt rogue Soviet General Koskov’s arms-dealing plot. Unable to allocate resources for assistance, Shah brings Bond and Milovy to a drug exchange the next day, where they discover Koskov is the trade partner.
Koskov, orchestrating a deal for Soviets to purchase hi-tech weapons, uses the down payment to buy raw opium instead, securing a significant profit while still supplying the Soviets with arms. Shah aids Bond in planting a bomb on the cargo plane carrying the opium. Detected, Bond is forced to hide in the plane.
As the Mujaheddin engage in a gunfight with the Soviets, Bond escapes with the plane. Despite retreating due to a Soviet reinforcement rally, Shah manages to rescue a wounded soldier while crossing a chasm bridge.
Their pursuit by Soviet armored vehicles ends when Bond drops the bomb from above, destroying the bridge. Later, during Kara’s solo performance in Vienna, Shah and his men meet with now-diplomat General Gogol and the Soviets.
Art Malik, a Pakistani-born British actor, was born on November 13, 1952, in Bahawalpur. Raised in London from the age of three, Malik became a notable actor in the 80s and 90s, with roles in films and British TV.
His breakthrough came in 1982 with the role of Hari Kumar in The Jewel in the Crown. He portrayed Kamran Shah in the 1987 James Bond film, The Living Daylights, and Salim Abu Aziz in True Lies (1994).
Malik has also had diverse roles in productions like Cleopatra, City of Joy, Mirzya, and The Little Mermaid. On TV, he’s made guest appearances in Sherlock, Doc Martin, and Doctor Who.