After 13 years Britain and the United States officially ended their combat operation in Afghanistan on October 26, 2014. Britain and the United States handed over their last base in Afghanistan – Camp Bastion and Camp Leatherneck in the southern province of Helmand (cf.: Raissa Kasolowsky, Michael Perry and Kevin Liffey, “Britain ends combat role in Afghanistan, last U.S. Marines hand over base“, Reuters, 26.10.2014). However, in late September the United States and Afghanistan signed a long-delayed security agreement that will allow about 9,800 American troops to remain in the country after the end of 2014. They will be responsible for advising and supporting Afghan security forces and conducting counterterrorism missions against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, but they will not have a combat role.
If we are honest, we have to admit that the mission in Afghanistan was a failure. It is only a question of time before the Taliban will recapture the country. Already now, the violence is increasing. Fighting between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban is chaotic and often indiscriminate, and civilian casualties are rising, as Afghans pay the price for failures of the withdrawing countries.
Vice News correspondent Ben Anderson visited an NGO-operated hospital in Lashkar Gah — one of only two in the Helmand province — to speak with the medical staff as they attempt to manage the ever-growing influx of patients. The short documentary gives an impression about the situation in Afghanistan, the prospect of the country after 2014 and what we are leaving behind.