C4 reveals true extent of Afghan conflict

Channel 4 is to broadcast tonight an exclusive, first-hand account of one of the longest battles fought by British soldiers in Afghanistan.

Dispatches: Fighting the Taliban was filmed, directed and reported by journalist, Sean Langan, who ignored Ministry of Defence orders to secure the footage.

Taliban fighters trying to defeat the Nato forces, and the Islamic fighters waging the wider war of global jihad were just some of the characters Langan met along his travels. The journalist carried out extensive interviews with their commanders, their soldiers, and even one of their teenage suicide bombers At one point a Taliban commander asked him: “Would you like to interview the boy? He’s wearing his bomb.” Langan spent five months in Afghanistan on the trail of the Taliban and their allies, trying to discover how the organisation and Al Qaeda recovered to launch a massive counter-attack in the country where the war on terror started.

The film, which will be broadcast in two parts, reveals how the war on terror is being fought on the ground and the size of the task facing British troops in Afghanistan.

Langan managed to travel with the Afghan army which, along with British soldiers, was on a mission to retake the strategically important town of Garmser in Helmand province. The assault Langan witnessed was expected to last 24 hours, but it soon ran into difficulty and led to six days of relentless attacks and counter attacks which Langan captured in their entirety. After the battle ended, Langan clothes were so badly drenched in the blood of wounded Afghan soldiers that he had to burn them.

In the following months, he travelled deep into the mountains, on the border with Pakistan, where he met the Islamic fighters who are part of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. In Islamic militant camps, Langan interviewed fighters who said they had links with Arab fighters and Al Qaeda, and those who claim to have plotted to blow up planes last summer with liquid explosives. The two-part programme will air on Channel 4 tonight (Monday) at 8pm and Thursday 11 January at 11pm.

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