The War Briefing

The War Briefing

Attacks on U.S. soldiers in 'the forgotten war' in Afghanistan have reached an all time high, making it a deadlier battlefield than Iraq.

The war in Afghanistan has been of secondary importance since the invasion of Iraq, and military commanders concede the situation has deteriorated markedly over the last two years. It has been called “the forgotten war.” With attacks on U.S. soldiers now at an all-time high, more soldiers are dying in Afghanistan than Iraq.

Afghanistan is larger and more densely populated than Iraq. With approximately 33,000 troops on the ground there (in contrast to 160,000 in Iraq) U.S. commanders say they urgently need reinforcements. They have requested 15,000 more soldiers to the region but only 5,000 are currently available.

There is a direct, perhaps unavoidable trade-off between what’s going on in Afghanistan and Iraq and President Obama will inherit this foreign policy nightmare. Most experts agree the situation is only getting worse and any progress in Afghanistan is hostage to developments just across the border in Pakistan. Some believe the U.S. must either massively reinforce troops and commit to a protracted war or simply get out.

This Frontline program probes these urgent issues. The in-depth report includes an hour of video, a detailed map, interviews and analysis with experts. The over-riding question of the program is what course Obama will take in the region. The videos are divided into six chapters with detailed looks at the history of the region, the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the opium trade, the role of Pakistan. and the lives and roles of the U.S. soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan.

CHAPTER ONE : A Deadly New Battlefield
Seven years on, the Afghanistan war has deteriorated markedly. In the Korengal, one of Afghanistan’s deadliest fronts, the U.S. Army’s Bravo Company battles the heart of the resistance.

CHAPTER TWO : A Strengthening Taliban
Its resurgence is fueled by opium money, growing dissatisfaction with Karzai’s government. Yet on the ground, there’s insufficient U.S./NATO troops.

CHAPTER THREE : The Counterinsurgency Strategy — Close Up
By protecting Afghanis and improving their lives, the men from Bravo Company hope to change the conditions in which the Taliban and Al Qaeda thrive.

CHAPTER FOUR : The Challenge Just Over the Border…
The Taliban and Al Qaeda have safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas due to longstanding Pakistan-Taliban ties and the region’s turbulent geopolitics.

CHAPTER FIVE : New Threat: “The Taliban Movement of Pakistan”
The Taliban who’ve come out of the tribal areas have now set their sights on the rest of Pakistan and aim to overthrow the government.

CHAPTER SIX : Afghanistan and Pakistan — In the Balance
For the next president the stakes are very high. And it’s not just Afghanistan and Pakistan – what do we do with the region as a whole?

Length: 60:00

Producer/Camera: Timothy Grucza
Producer: Marcela Gaviria
Writers: Marcela Gaviria & Martin Smith
Editor: Jason Schmidt