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Title Four Corners: A Careful War - Ep 1 of 2
Published Australia : ABC1, 2010
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Description 1 streaming video file (45 min. 17 sec.) ; 271636323 bytes
Summary Part one of a rare and powerful insight into the perspectives of the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and the people they are fighting for.If any proof was needed, last month made it clear Afghanistan is a dangerous place to be. Five Australian soldiers died, more were wounded. Two of the men lost in action were Sapper Jacob Moerland and Sapper Darren Smith. Four Corners recently spent a month with Australian troops, much of it with their company. They were there on the day Jacob and Darren were hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Now reporter Chris Masters asks the men on the frontline if Australia is making headway in this brutal conflict, and if the pain they suffer is worth the gains they are making.They are called Mentoring Team Alpha, part of Mentoring Task Force 1 (MTF1) - a company of Australian soldiers backed by engineers whose job is to wage war against the Taliban in the Miribad Valley in Afghanistan. Fighting the Taliban is only part of their job. They must also protect the local people as well as train the Afghan National Army.We meet the soldiers from Team Alpha as they prepare for their deployment. We see their own recordings shot on helmet-cam during fire-fights with the enemy. Then, joining them at their base, we travel with them on patrol as they go about their job.Through this soldier's-eye view of the war we come to understand what it means to obey an order that says you cannot fire until you have been fired on, and to appreciate what it's like to know that every time you leave base you face the constant threat of attack from an unseen enemy. Sometimes the attack comes as a direct assault. More frequently the real danger lies with the IEDs set by their enemy on roads, paths and inside stone walls.As these men explain to Chris Masters, it's very hard to fight a war when you don't know who the enemy really is. It's even harder when the people you are trying to help accept your protection but don't warn you of real danger:"At first we got along really well, like you talk to them and stuff and you just felt sorry for them. But then after a while it gets a bit hard when you're getting blown up, two, three times a week and they know about the IEDs and they don't tell you about them."The soldiers have also learnt that within each province there are constant shifting alliances between the government, the Taliban, the local warlords and their private armies. As one local put it:"The government wants to build Afghanistan but some people in the government, they are very big people, they are the enemy of Afghanistan."MTF1 also realise that they cannot be there forever. Ultimately their task is to help train an Afghan Army that can maintain security. That has long term and short term advantages:"Well at the end of the day they're Afghans and we're not. They know this country better than we ever will. So we've got to harness their power in that regard, and these guys really are experts at picking up little innuendos in the environment."Jacob Moerland and Darren Smith paid the ultimate price in service of their country. Many other soldiers in Team Alpha have also been wounded. Yet none of the men that Four Corners spoke to wanted to leave. Without exception they made it clear they were in Afghanistan with their mates to do a job:"They need our help here, right. If we leave, then it's all the work that we've done for all the years since 2002 will go to nothing. Like, the Taliban will just take over this area and that'll be worth nothing. The lives that we've lost and injuries will be worth nothing."
Notes Closed captioning in English
Event Broadcast 2010-07-05 at 20:30:00
Notes Classification: NC
Subject Improvised explosive devices.
Military assistance, Australian.
Soldiers -- Death.
Taliban.
Terrorism -- Religious aspects.
Victims of terrorism -- Psychology.
Afghanistan.
Form Streaming video
Author Ball, Daniel, contributor
Blain, Jason, contributor
Butler, Cameron, contributor
Cantwell, John, contributor
Cimbaljevic, Aaron, contributor
Crockett, John, contributor
Daud, Mohammed, contributor
Deitz, David, contributor
Dick, Ian, contributor
Dolan, Kev, contributor
Groat, Jason, contributor
Hamid, Abdul, contributor
Harris, Steve, contributor
Hemat, Juma Gul, contributor
Hummel, Ryan, contributor
Khan, Maji Mohammed Nabi, contributor
Khan, Matiullah, contributor
Lawrence, Steve, contributor
Masters, Chris, host
McCabe, Glen, contributor
McKeever, Matthew, contributor
Nolan, Sean, contributor
Pahl, Jeremy, contributor
Panteli, Chris, contributor
Phillips, Blake, contributor
Pollok, Callum, contributor
Smith, James, contributor
Strub, Peter, contributor
Tanner, Jamie, contributor