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tv   Fault Lines  Al Jazeera  September 15, 2014 3:00pm-3:31pm EDT

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>> as us forces prepare to pull out of afghanistan after twelve long years, al jazeera's fault lines travelled there. >> the taliban fighters, they're running towards the base now. they're trying to raid the base. >> over several days, we gained
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extraordinary access to a group of self-proclaimed taliban fighters. >> and the mortars are landing in the areas where we are. >> it was an insight, in part at least, into what the war in afghanistan looks like - from the other side. >> the fighter jet is still in the air circling looking for a target. >> kabul, afghanistan afghan president hamid karzai is currently refusing to sign a treaty that would leave a small nato force in the country.
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if nothing changes, all foreign soldiers will leave by the end of this year. in secret, karzai has been negotiating with the taliban, in order to avoid a full-blown civil war. since 2005, the taliban has clawed back territory. they now dominate large parts of the country. >> but approximately only one hour's drive from here, right over behind the mountain there, is logar. and in logar there's still a war going on. >> i wanted to see what the war looked like from the other side - in the charkh district of logar province - a region which has seen violent clashes in recent years. through trusted sources, we contacted the taliban there. i hoped it would offer a rare glimpse inside the insurgency. we were told we would get a
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phone call in a few days. >> "i'm on my way to see what the taliban are up against. i'm going to visit a training center for the afghan national army" >> while the afghan national army is around 200,000 strong, it's reported to be plagued with desertions, and with low morale. >> "these are kabul's last line of defense; all that stands between the city and the taliban. the question is: will this army be strong enough when the international troops leave? >> the task of the ana is to provide an environment of security that can allow the communities and economies education all to function. so creating that environment is tough. >> their commander insists they're ready for anything:
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>> at the end of the day, the afghan army does have greater fire power. they do have greater resources. even if troops aren't on the ground they are still being supported by american patronage and all of those factors i think will mean that the afghan army is going to be able to control major population centers like kabul, like provincial capitals. >> after three days, we received the call we had been waiting for. >> at the moment we are crossing the last checkpoint, leaving kabul and driving towards logar. >> actually, i'm a bit nervous because last time i tried to
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embed with insurgents in afghanistan, it was the taliban in helmand. i was actually kidnapped. >> it happened 6 years ago. the taliban demanded a ransom of $2 million dollars >> i was lucky and i managed to escape from them. it was a terrible experience and i hope that i will never end up in the same situation. >> the us military had tried to tame charkh district for years. >> the afghan army has bases in the area but i was told they rarely go outside. >> just 40 minutes after leaving kabul, and we were in taliban country. a little further on, we were met by a taliban fighter, who drove ahead of us on a motorbike.
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>> i was taken to meet two of their commanders. it was obvious they were planning something big. >> i've been told that we're going to be taken to a place where they're going to make plans for attack early this morning. >> i'm sitting at the back of a motorbike driven by a taliban soldier. earlier this evening we heard the sound of the drones. to be honest i feel quite nervous driving with an armed soldier. >> they took me to a safe house where a number of taliban fighters were checking their weapons.
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>> for the several days that i was with the taliban, they only told me to stop filming once. but i was acutely aware that i wouldn't have been allowed here to film them, unless they wanted the world to see what they showed me. >> the leaders have always had a certain media savvy. the fact that they used the media to establish their point of view and get their point across, they should, i mean we certainly do. >> they've always been actually fairly sophisticated in use of communications and i think that allowing cameras in and doing interviews like this is just another example. >> their commander was a 23-year-old man called leesan. he claimed, of numerous battles against both the government and nato troops
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>> at the moment we are just sitting and waiting in the secret hideout. i'm not allowed to disclose where we are. the atmosphere is a little bit tense. people they are preparing themself... >> i would be going with them when they headed out. >> the time right now, i think it's 3 o'clock in the morning. and i think we're gonna leave in maybe one hour, one and a half hour. but i'm not really sure. they're changing the plans all the time. >> then, they get the signal.
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>> we're on our way to the place where they are going to fight a battle early in the morning. the plan is, they told me, to capture an afghan national army base. the only thing i know is that they say they're going to fight until they capture the base. they're not going to withdraw. >> it's a chilling and draconian sentence... it simply cannot stand. >> this trial was a sham... >> they are truth seekers...
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>> all they really wanna do is find out what's happening, so they can tell people... >> governments around the world all united to condemn this... >> as you can see, it's still a very much volatile situation... >> the government is prepared to carry out mass array... >> if you want free press in the new democracy, let the journalists live.
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>> protestors are gathering... >> there's an air of tension right now... >> the crowd chanting for democracy... >> this is another significant development... >> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live... >> consider this: the news of the day plus so much more. >> we begin with the growing controversy.
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>> answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> real perspective, consider this on al jazeera america in afghanistan, dawn is just moments away, as a group of taliban fighters prepare to launch an attack on an afghan army base. >> they haven't told me exactly when they are going to attack. they just said it's going to happen around sunrise. >> the fact that there would be
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suicide bombers was a surprise. they hadn't told me about that before. then the commander, leesan, hears a car coming. he asks the driver, a civilian, if there are government troops on the road.
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>> and then suddenly the fighting begins >> the talibans's heavy machine gun isn't ready. >> these taliban have little or no formal military training.
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>> the afghan national army fight back. >> things aren't going to plan. their machine gun still isn't working. they leave the gunner to fix it, while they go to support the attack from another side. >> to allow the rest of the taliban to enter the base, three suicide bombers have been sent to blow up the main gate. but they have to first avoid heavy fire coming from inside.
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>> the taliban they just started to raid the base. >> the taliban fighters, they are running towards the base now. they're trying to raid the base. i need to stick with them, even though it's really dangerous. i don't know the area, so i'm just running after them. >> -there's a helicopter. >> the helicopter might be armed, so the taliban run for cover.
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>> they say it's not a fighter helicopter; i'm just crossing my fingers right now because that's going to be the end of us if it is. while the taliban have freedom of movement, the base is well fortified >> the taliban can come in and
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fire and harass and retreat. >> the afghan national army actually has to be there and actually has to try to create an environment over time that is going to allow the country to function. they are not going to come out of garrison to engage in hand to hand combat with these taliban guys. it would make no sense. >> the ana soldiers have started to fire mortar rounds. and the mortars are landing in the areas where we are. close to some of the other guys behind us and close to us also. >> the battle has been going on for more than an hour, and the ana soldiers under attack inside have received no support from other bases. the taliban had hoped this would be a victory, but it was becoming clear that they were facing far greater resistance than they had expected.
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>> the taliban soldiers that i'm together with have lost two men. and it looks like they are not as positive as they were before they started attacking the base. and for these fighters, it looks like the situation might be about to get worse. >> a new episode of the ground breaking series, edge of eighteen growing up fast... >> my quest is to find me, and me is not here... >> fighting for a better future
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>> the sound of the fighter jets fades for the moment, but on the ground the fighting is intensifying. >> the taliban, as you can see in the picture right now, are very close to the base. they're trying to get over the wall, but the ana soldiers they are fighting fiercely, trying to resist a raid of the talib. >> they just hit some of the insurgents or they were close to hitting them. i don't know of the afghan casualties. >> suddenly, the forward attack group gets a call >> the suicide bombers failed to get close to the gate. they're told to pull back. >> it seems like the tanks from a bigger base in logar have
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arrived so that's the reason why the taliban are fleeing right now. >> the heavy machine gunners had finally fixed their weapon - but was too late. the resistance by soldiers inside the base was too strong. >> angry at losing two of his men, the commander orders me to stop filming.
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>> when things seemed to caim down i had the chance to ask one of the taliban fighters a few questions.
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>> well that's probably true for him. i mean he's sitting in logar province miles from the pakistani border. i take him at his word. i think he's probably telling the truth. most of those guys are locals from that area. >> i'm sure, i'm sure that there are indigenous afghan fighters who are fighting with the taliban. of course there are. and i'm also sure that they are getting significant external support. >> these are the facts: the pakistani military through the isi provides intelligence to the taliban on nato and us and ana operations. they provide even training for
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them and resources and logistics. >> the sound of the military jets returns, but the fighters don't seem too worried. >> they even stop to pick up fruit on the way. but i'm concerned about the nato planes circling above us. >> i just saw two fighter jets in the air, flying very low,
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possibly targeting us i'm scared as hell. >> but the planes didn't attack us >> it's not a major attack. it's a small group of taliban, it lasted for a couple of hours. for those types of attacks isaf planes don't normally engage. there are much larger attacks 200, 300 taliban in which there is a real danger of the base being overrun which would be a major political and symbolic blow to the afghan government and to nato and in those cases it would be much more likely to engage. >> they couldn't get the bodies of the fallen comrades, so they're very disappointed. but they say they killed a lot of afghan national army soldiers, i can't confirm it because we couldn't get close to the base.
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and they also say that they hit one tank. >> the taliban walk through the streets openly - mingling with civilians. the afghan government claims to be in control of this area, that is clearly not the case. while its hard to draw conclusions from this sort of access, what i can say is that these fighters allowed me here to film - hoping to show that they had the upper hand in a war that has been going on for over a decade. but what we witnessed is that they still face strong resistance from the afghan army. what happens when us and nato troops leave remains an open question.
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>> just an hours drive from kabul, is charkh district, afghanistan. as the us and nato prepares to pull out most of their forces later this year, i travelled here to try to see what life is like in areas of afghanistan under the rule of the taliban.

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