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Afghanistans Gray Line: The Education of "Combat Platoon"

Along Afghanistans porous border with Pakistan, the U.S. Army is focused on reaching out to Afghan villagers and building local institutions. Immense Mountains and abject poverty stand out as obstacles to success, but it is the human terrain that presents the greatest challenge. In this mini-documentary, Lt. Jake Kerr, West Point Class 07, leads his motley Combat Platoon out of a remote outpost in the Dangam District of eastern Afghanistans Kunar province. Kerr, 25, of Lake Placid, N.Y., struggles to improve his skills as a peacemaker and diplomat even as the Taliban and his own warrior alter-ego draw him deeper into combat. As more platoon-sized U.S. Army bases in eastern Afghanistan are abandoned over security fears, President Obama and the militarys top brass must scrutinize the hard work of Combat Platoon and others like it. In doing so, they must balance the pros of having Americas best foot forward, protecting the Afghans in a classic interpretation of Gen. Petraeus counter-insurgency doctrine, while, at the same time, weighing the cons of putting more fighters in harms way in a conflict that has only fragile -- sometimes fickle -- support at home.
Length: 10:43


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