or


[02/01/11 - 11:02 AM]
"The Battle for Marjah," The Harrowing Story of the U.S. Marines' Battle to Liberate a Key Afghanistan Town, Debuts Feb. 17 on HBO
Ben Anderson, who spent two months with the American forces, "offers an extraordinarily intimate look at the brutal realities of modern-day warfare."

[via press release from HBO]

"THE BATTLE FOR MARJAH," THE HARROWING STORY OF THE U.S. MARINES' BATTLE TO LIBERATE A KEY AFGHANISTAN TOWN, DEBUTS FEB. 17 ON HBO

Filmmaker Ben Anderson Spent Two Months Embedded With American Forces Waging War On The Taliban

In February 2010, U.S. Marines launched Afghanistan: Operation Moshtarak, the biggest operation since the start of the Afghanistan war, whose main target was the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, a town in Helmand province. Journalist Ben Anderson, who spent two months with the American forces, offers an extraordinarily intimate look at the brutal realities of modern-day warfare in the harrowing documentary THE BATTLE FOR MARJAH, debuting THURSDAY, FEB. 17 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, marking the first anniversary of this historic battle.

Other HBO playdates: Feb. 22 (1:00 a.m.) and 25 (7:30 p.m.), and March 3 (12:30 a.m.) and 7 (1:45 a.m.)

HBO2 playdate: Feb. 23 (8:00 p.m.)

The United States' largest offensive in the war to date, Afghanistan: Operation Moshtarak was the first attack launched after the administration announced plans to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, serving as a key test of the U.S. counter-insurgency strategy against the Taliban. The campaign had four distinct phases: clear Marjah of Taliban, hold all ground seized, build infrastructure and governance, and transfer control to Afghan security forces. In addition to chronicling the operation, THE BATTLE FOR MARJAH asks whether the policy is a successful prototype for winning this kind of war.

Ben Anderson spent two months embedded with Bravo Company, the first Marines dropped into the center of Marjah, where they encountered a maze of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), bunkers, trenches and ambushes set by well-trained Taliban fighters. The new rules of engagement, dubbed "courageous restraint" by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, meant they could not fire until fired upon and had great difficulty getting airstrikes approved. While these rules were intended to limit civilian causalities, they put the Marines in highly treacherous situations.

Bravo Company's leader, Capt. Ryan Sparks, is a mentor and friend to many of the young Marines, often making split-second decisions when lives are in danger. He acknowledges the challenges when he addresses his men, saying, "I guarantee you we will lose Marines. I guarantee you we will. Don't let emotions control you. There's 80,000 civilians in this city; there's maybe a thousand enemy. So when I go home, I don't want to feel ashamed because I'm having problems sleeping at night, because I'm not sure that I did the right thing. What happens over the next five days will be a cornerstone of your memory for the rest of your life."

Anderson joined the Marines on the front lines of combat and in makeshift sleeping quarters, where he caught glimpses of their personal lives. One Marine confesses how much he misses "his five-month-old son," having spent only two months with him before leaving for battle.

THE BATTLE FOR MARJAH also looks at the relationship between the Marines and the Afghan people. As Sparks explains, the key to success is "to get the people on your side, and let them understand that you're here for them," not an easy task when the locals lose friends and loved ones by following the Marines' orders. For example, the documentary shows one man receiving a condolence payment when members of his family are killed by a stray rocket after being told to stay inside for shelter.

The Marines' mission is complicated by their Afghan partners � the army, police and government. The government is nowhere to be seen, the police are feared by the locals, and the army soldiers, a few of whom accompany the Marines into battle, are a liability. In addition, the members of the Afghan army assigned to the area are from the north and speak a different language and come from different ethnic groups than the residents of Marjah.

Although they achieve their initial mission, when Anderson returns four months later, the Marines have lost 20 percent of their fighting force to casualties, and battle daily to maintain their shrinking zone of control. Meanwhile, the local economy is still in shambles and the future of the war is in question. Still, as one Marine remarks, "Marines fight battles, they don't fight wars."

Ben Anderson is a multi-award winning UK journalist and TV presenter whose recent works includes "Young, British and Angry," as well as "Taking on the Taliban," a documentary for BBC Panorama. Anderson writes on Afghanistan for The Times of London and regularly contributes to GQ, The Guardian, Independent on Sunday and BBC World Service.

Director Anthony Wonke is a British documentary filmmaker who won a 2008 BAFTA for the BBC documentary series "The Tower: A Tale of Two Cities."

THE BATTLE FOR MARJAH was produced, filmed and written by Ben Anderson; directed by Anthony Wonke; executive producer, Guy Davies; editor, Gregor Lyon; original music, Andrew Phillips. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.





  [february 2011]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
  


· SHOWATCH
(series past and present)
· DEVWATCH
(series in development)
· MOVIEWATCH
(tv movies and mini-series)





[05/22/17 - 01:45 PM]
A&E Network's Hit Series "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" to Premiere Two-Hour Stand-Alone Special on Monday, May 29
In this two-hour special, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder explore the historical relationship between the Church of Scientology and its often vocal critics.

[05/22/17 - 01:13 PM]
HGTV Lodge Boasts Star-Studded Lineup at 2017 CMA Festival in Nashville
From Thursday, June 8 - Sunday, June 11, in Nashville, the 3,500-square-foot HGTV Lodge will offer Festival-goers the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience(TM).

[05/22/17 - 11:31 AM]
Video: OWN Unveils Season Two Trailer of Acclaimed Drama Series "Queen Sugar"
The new season will debut with a two-night premiere on Tuesday, June 20 and Wednesday, June 21.

[05/22/17 - 11:30 AM]
Video: "Flaked" - Season 2 - Official Trailer
Season two launches globally on Netflix on Friday, June 2.

[05/22/17 - 10:33 AM]
Lifetime Greenlights "The Lost Wife of Robert Durst" Starring Katharine McPhee and Daniel Gillies
Based on the book "A Deadly Secret: The Strange Disappearance of Kathie Durst," by investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck, filming begins this month in Vancouver.

[05/22/17 - 10:27 AM]
Video: Final Trailer Released for BBC America's "Orphan Black"
Get a final look at what to expect this season on the network's award-winning clone drama before the series returns Saturday, June 10.

[05/22/17 - 10:06 AM]
Cartoon Network Expands "Ben 10" Universe with Season Two Pick Up and New Mobile and Console Games
Beginning Monday, May 29, Ben's transformation into Wildvine, the 10th alien to be featured in the current first season will be revealed in two all-new episodes.

[05/22/17 - 09:38 AM]
"Dateline NBC" Correspondent Keith Morrison Sits Down with Chris Tapp in Investigation Discovery's "Who Killed Angie Dodge? Keith Morrison Investigates"
The two-hour special premieres Monday, May 29 at 8:00/7:00c.

[05/22/17 - 09:31 AM]
"Friends from College" Premieres Friday, July 14th on Netflix
Each day this week, keep a look out for a new sneak peek from the new series starring Keegan-Michael Key, Cobie Smulders, Annie Parisse, Nat Faxon, Fred Savage and Jae Suh Park.

[05/22/17 - 09:16 AM]
Video: New Showtime Drama Series "I'm Dying Up Here" Available Now for Early Sampling
Starting today, consumers who do not subscribe to Showtime can watch the series premiere for free on YouTube and SHO.com.

[05/22/17 - 09:10 AM]
Video: First Look at "Bobcat Goldthwait's Misfits & Monsters" on truTV
In early 2018, truTV will premiere the new anthology series that features twisted morality tales.

[05/22/17 - 09:05 AM]
BET Sounds Off Black Music Month on a High Note
New original scripted series "Tales" premieres Tuesday, June 27 at 10:00/9:00c.

[05/22/17 - 09:01 AM]
The Hit Comedy Series "Baby Daddy" Goes Out With a Bang as It Celebrates Its 100th Episode and Series Finale, Airing Monday, May 22, on Freeform
"The 'Baby Daddy' cast and crew are truly remarkable, and together it has been a joy to watch our characters' lives unfold on screen over the past six seasons," said Dan Berendsen.

[05/22/17 - 08:59 AM]
History's "Alone" Returns with a Twist for Season 4 on Thursday, June 15 at 10PM ET/PT
In season four, seven teams of two will be separated and dropped miles apart with two ultimate goals: navigate the brutal, unforgiving terrain of Vancouver Island in an attempt to locate their isolated partner and, once reunited, survive as long as they can.

[05/22/17 - 08:39 AM]
Sunday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC Rides "Billboard Music Awards" to Victory
The Alphabet's annual telecast however is down more than 20% from last year among adults 18-49.