PATROL BASE MIRAKER KALA WITH VOICEOVER
Independent Films, Documentaries, Politics
American soldiers from the 2nd Platoon Alpha battery fight the Taliban daily in this small outpost based in an ancient Afghan mansion in Kandahar province.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 4 April 1949.
NATO constitutes a system of collective defense in response to an attack by any external party.
The NATO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium.
Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
At patrol base Miraker Kala in Kandahar province the enemy is never far away, hidden among pomegranate orchards and abandoned mudbrick houses that surround the outpost on all sides.
At least once a day, sometimes more, the Taliban make their presence known by firing toward the base.
When attacked, the US soldiers and the Afghan army respond with massive firepower.
‘We built up good fighting positions, and when we do go out and patrol from here we are always real careful.’
Afghan and American soldiers have been living together for the last six months in this traditional Afghan mud-walled compound in pretty Spartan conditions.
But they don’t complain too much.
‘These are kebabs. They are pretty delicious for army food. It’s pretty good out here.’
The patrol base is tactically important as it allows Afghan and American troops to intercept drug traffickers between the Registan Desert, highway one and Kandahar city.
‘Down there south there is the river and then north of us there is Highway one. We see a lot of Taliban movement through this area. So it’s just trying to disrupt their lines of communications and their lines of supply.
When we first moved in, you can tell they didn’t want us here. Our first rotation on the patrol base was pretty hot and heavy and we were taking fire everyday. They were not really trying to take over this area, they were testing us.’
Afghan and US soldiers have conducted many joint operations in the last six months pushing the Taliban south and creating security for the local Afghan people.
‘The Afghan National Army that we partner with, they go on every patrol with us. The good thing about them is that they understand the population more then we do so they can pick up on things that we wouldn’t pick up on.
Their capabilities, they have got lot better since we have been out here partnering with them. We teach them a lot of patrol techniques and how to use counter IED technology. And they also teach us how to interact with the populace.’
While securing the area is a daunting task, what’s even more challenging is reassuring the local people they are here to help and will stick around long enough to rebuild.
‘We started to see small gains, some of the people are genuinely happy to have us here. The fact that we just started to improve the security, initially that brought a lot of fighting and insecurity. Now we got more control of the area. We see more people that they want to talk with us.’
When they are not fighting, the soldiers take it in turns to do guard duty, manning a nearby checkpoint, or sleeping on their roof-top cots under the moon.
Alessandro Pavone in Kandahar, Afghanistan for the NATO Channel
Year of Production: 2011
Country: United States