America and the Taliban: Part One (full documentary)
05 Apr 2023
Watch Part One of “America and the Taliban,” a three-episode FRONTLINE documentary series investigating how the U.S. lost the 20-year war in Afghanistan.
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Drawing on 20 years of on-the-ground reporting and revealing new interviews with both U.S. and Taliban officials, award-winning producers Marcela Gaviria and Martin Smith chronicle how what began in the wake of the 9/11 attacks as an effort to eliminate Al Qaeda and oust its ruling ally, the Taliban, became America’s longest war with nearly 50,000 Afghan civilians dead, approximately 2,400 American service members killed — and how it ended in defeat in August 2021 with U.S. troops withdrawing, the Western-backed Afghan government collapsing, and the Taliban once again in control.
“For all the lives and money spent, over two trillion dollars, Afghanistan has regressed to what it was before America invaded, a country where women are denied an education, music is banned, beards for men are mandatory and homosexuality is punishable by death,” says Smith, who has been covering Afghanistan and the Middle East for FRONTLINE for two decades. “Our new series traces the mistakes, miscalculations and hubris that allowed this to happen.”
Watch Part One now. Parts Two and Three premiere April 11 and 25.
“America and the Taliban” is a FRONTLINE production with RAIN Media, Inc. The producers are Brian Funck, Marcela Gaviria and Martin Smith. The writers and directors are Marcela Gaviria and Martin Smith. The correspondent is Martin Smith. The co-producer is Scott Anger. The executive producer and editor-in-chief for FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.
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FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support for FRONTLINE is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Park Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation; and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund, with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen.
Prologue - 0:00
Conditions in Afghanistan After the Taliban’s 2021 Takeover - 1:15
The Taliban’s History in Afghanistan and with Al Qaeda - 6:13
After 9/11 Attacks, a U.S.-Led Coalition Ousts the Taliban - 10:02
A Missed Opportunity in Nov. 2001 to Prevent the Taliban’s Insurgency? - 11:10
U.S. Focus on Iraq War Allows Taliban to Regroup in Afghanistan - 16:45
The Haqqani Network and Its Relationship with Pakistan - 21:25
FRONTLINE Presses Taliban About Suicide Attacks That Killed Afghan Civilians - 26:35
In 2009, U.S. Takes New Counterinsurgency Approach in Afghanistan - 29:02
Afghanistan in 2022: Under the Taliban’s Rule Again - 41:39
‘A Matter of Willpower’: U.S. Counterinsurgency Strategy in Afghanistan Falls Short - 48:40
Coming in Part Two of ‘America and the Taliban’ - 51:59
Credits - 52:30