Afghanistan: Fight for the Korengal Valley

November 24, 2009 blogimg

In late 2007, correspondent Elizabeth Rubin embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, a remote area close to the Pakistan border and a known hide out for insurgents. She spent two months with Battle Company under the command of Capt. Dan Kearney, and wrote a seminal piece about the experience for the New York Times magazine. Nine months later Rubin returned to the valley and, on both trips, captured some extraordinary video scenes, including a deadly ambush on Kearney's men after U.S.airstrikes on a nearby village.

It is the first time any of this footage has been seen by the public and it offers an unflinching look at how tough the war has become on the ground and why it's a critical time for U.S. military strategy there.

In a recent interview with FRONTLINE/World, Rubin describes some of the raw moments and their effects on soldiers and the Korengalis. Also, below, watch additional uncut scenes.

The following videos contain graphic language and violent imagery. Viewer discretion advised.

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Interview with Elizabeth Rubin


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Collateral Damage   

After an airstrike on the village of Yaka China that killed women and children, Capt. Kearney meets with villagers to explain why he ordered the bombing.


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Caught in an Ambush

These chaotic scenes shot on a steep ridge show Battle Company soldiers pinned down in a deadly ambush.

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Korengal 15 Months Later

About to hand off responsibility to a new commander, Capt. Kearney asks the Korengali elders if the U.S. has made progress in the valley.

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Related Stories

Battle Company Is Out There
Read Elizabeth Rubin's original story in the New York Times magazine and her August 4 cover story about President Hamid Karzai.

Obama's War
Veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels across Afghanistan and Pakistan to see first-hand how the president's counterinsurgency plan is working.

Elizabeth Rubin's reporting in the Korengal Valley was supported by the Center for Investigative Reporting.