This Is What Winning Looks Like

Published on 25th May 2017 by

Film maker and reporter Ben Anderson began covering the war in Afghanistan in 2007, documenting the struggles of under-equipped and undermanned British forces who were fighting the Taliban for control of Helmand province in the BBC documentary Taking on the Taliban. He also directed the 2010 HBO documentary The Battle for Marjah for which he followed US Marines as they launched Operation Moshtarak, the biggest operation since the start of the Afghanistan War in 2001 and with the objective of taking back control of Marjah, a Talibam stronghold.

In this feature length 2013 Vice documentary, This Is What Winning Looks Like, Anderson follows U.S. Marines as they trained Afghan security forces with the objective that they would become competent enough to defend their own country and allow American forces and their allies to withdraw from Afghanistan. The documentary manages to lift the lid on the grim reality of the situation at the time, with Afghan commanders sexually abusing and killing children, widespread theft and corruption, many Afghan soldiers being addicted to hard drugs, and the illegal imprisonment of enemy combatants by Afghan police officers.


Ben Anderson made numerous trips to Afghanistan to produce content for BBC Panorama, HBO, and Channel 4 Dispatches, and in 2012 published the gritty and brutally honest book No Worse Enemy: The Inside Story Of The Chaotic Struggle for Afghanistan, a book which tells the true but grim story of the war on the front line. It is available in paperback, hardback, or kindle editions.

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