Operation Moshtarak

Operation Moshtarak

A pioneering war videojournalist goes on patrol with a small group of British soldiers in Afghanistan when they are fired upon by the elusive Taliban.

Pioneering war videojournalist Vaughan Smith spent a month with the British army in Afghanistan ahead of Operation Moshtarak, going on patrol in Helmand province with a small group of soldiers tasked with keeping the Taliban out of the village of Kushal Kalay, so that another group could go in and clear the area of the Taliban’s Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Smith’s report gives a remarkable insider’s view of their 3.5-hour patrol.

British forces and their allies have prepared for the biggest battle of the eight-year war in Afghanistan, under Operation Moshtarak, which in Dari Persian translates to Operation “Together.”

It engaged an upsurge of U.S., British, NATO and Afghan troops, to take significant areas in Helmand under control by separating the Taliban from the civilian population and allowing the local administration to exert control and to bring security.

In this video we closely follow the troops as they leave their base and clear a route with mine detectors. The hazards of IEDS is so great that when the soldiers are fired on, they still have to stick to this path and they can’t run for cover, leaving them vulnerable on open ground.

Though the troops display remarkable calm and bonhomie under extreme duress and danger, the suspense for viewers exceeds that of a Hollywood movie, given that the circumstances are all too real. The British soldiers regroup and plan to attack the elusive Taliban, without knowing their exact location, but well aware that they are out there waiting for them. As advanced as their weaponry is, we can’t help but marvel at how unpredictable and perilous the warfare conditions are.

The Taliban response is much stronger than anticipated, and the British soldiers are shot at from multiple directions, making us wonder if they will complete this mission safely.

Length: 11:37