This film by John D McHugh from Afghanistan’s Kunar province aired last night on Al Jazeera.
“As we crammed ourselves into the low-slung cargo seats of the Chinook, abandoning any effort to strap ourselves in, I thought back over my time on the mountaintop. For the first nine days there had been a lot of shooting. Not the up close and personal kind of close quarter combat that I have come to expect in Afghanistan, especially in this eastern part. No, rather it had been Taliban taking pot shots at the helicopters followed by massive retaliation from the pilots. Not a fair fight at all, and I wondered again and again what the Taliban were trying to achieve. There was only the tiniest chance that they would even hit a helicopter, let alone bring one down. This slight possibility pitched against the guaranteed retribution of the heavily armed flying machines suggested either overwhelming confidence, or pure stupidity. I never could decide which.”