Aired Wednesday August 25th, 2010 at 9:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
Close to nine years after the first raid was launched, Afghanistan is now America's longest war. How will it end? Camp Victory, Afghanistan, a new documentary directed by Carol Dysinger, is the first film to examine the reality of building a functioning Afghan military, the Afghan National Army - the cornerstone of America's exit strategy.
Using almost 300 hours of footage shot between 2005 and 2010, Camp Victory, Afghanistan achieves astonishing access to the story of a few Afghan officers stationed at Camp Victory, Afghanistan and the continuous rotations of U.S. National Guardsmen assigned as their mentors. These men, both Afghan and American, have the enormous task of building the 207th Corps of the nascent Afghan National Army (ANA) into an institution capable of providing security and stability to a tattered, volatile nation. Camp Victory, Afghanistan will premiere on KUED Wednesday, August 25 at 9:00 p.m.
Afghan General Fazaludin Sayar has been fighting on the front lines for all of Afghanistan's 30 years of war, and yet, he has a deep hunger, and some hope, for peace. He is determined to make a modern national army with--or in spite of-the various cast of American "mentors" stationed to train him. The U.S. National Guardsmen assigned to teach, coach and mentor the ANA, find themselves shorthanded, underfunded, and frustrated.
Colonel Mike Shute, a lifelong National Guardsman and the father of two sons who served in Iraq, is a commander who has not seen conflict, but knows how to run an army. He does what no one has taken the time to do, he listens to General Sayar's incredible story, and the story of a frontline soldier in Afghanistan, unfolds. Intimate, and revealing, a conversation begins, and a friendship, born out of mutual respect between soldiers, is formed.
Over the next year, Shute and Sayar work together to mold a group of unmotivated and illiterate enlistees into and a functioning army, and find they have more in common than one might expect. But can a modern Afghan army be effective when 80 percent of the soldiers are illiterate, impoverished, with second rate weaponry and an elusive, dangerous enemy?
Camp Victory, Afghanistan is not so much about war, but more about the slow, careful work of building an army in a war torn land. Without any preaching or opinion, with incredible access and enormous patience, the film gives the viewer an opportunity to see the reality on the ground. It is a story of what happens between the best of men, in the worst of circumstances. It is also a thoughtful, penetrating and humane exploration of how we might learn to redefine victory.
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