Executive Producer Peter Charley writes for the Dateline blog about getting this rare insight into life for the Taliban in Afghanistan...
There are always two sides to every story – as any reporter covering a conflict knows. But some conflicts – like the war in Afghanistan - make it simply too dangerous to get ‘the other side’ of the story: the point of view of the enemy.
Our remarkable story this week on the Afghan war through the eyes of the Taliban gives an all-too-rare glimpse into ‘the other side’ of that gruelling conflict. It was shot by Norwegian-born Paul Refsdal who reached the Taliban through mujahideen contacts from his days covering Afghanistan’s conflict with Russia in the 1980s.
It was a highly-risky – some might say death-defying – assignment which has given us all an extraordinary insight into the daily lives of Taliban insurgents. Who could not be moved by the tender images of innocent children playing in the arms of their father? But how are we to feel once we see that same man command his fighters to “shoot the brains out” of foreign troops, or to celebrate the death of US soldiers after an ambush on a passing convoy?
I wondered, when I watched that scene, what horror the US soldiers were experiencing in their stricken convoy – young men, just like their Taliban enemies. And I could imagine the fear felt by the insurgents as US gunships came hunting for them at night, seeking revenge.
They are thought-provoking and provocative images. And Paul Refsdal is to be commended for his courage for bringing to us an entirely different view of the Afghan war.
Read more blog entries from Executive Producer Peter Charley.