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LONE SURVIVOR


"You are never out of the fight."


(10 January 2014)  Writer/Director:  Peter Berg

 

Of all the things Lone Survivor is: a Super Soldier movie, a look at the Navy SEAL brotherhood, the dramatized story of "Operation Red Wings", the story of the survival of Marcus Luttrell, a lesson in humanity, a case for believing in God . . . what it is most, is a damn good Action Movie.


"A MAN'S GOTTA KNOW . . . "
Lone Survivor's
Navy SEAL training montage over the opening credits shows us what makes a SEAL a SEAL. We see what they endure, and what they are trained to do. The narration explains: "Winning here is a conscious decision." To those who make it through the training, they congratulate them with this insight: "You just proved to your bodies, through your mind, that you can push yourself further than you thought possible." They bring you to the point of giving up. If you give up, you're out. If you can reach down, and push past that point, you win. navy seal training

"A man's gotta know his limitations", but Navy SEALs are trained to go beyond theirs—Physically, mentally, emotionally, but not spiritually—that's a different matter. It must take a hell of a lot of heart to go through all that training, just so you can put your life on the line in the fight against evil. I don't believe you can train heart into a person. I've heard "Heroes are born, not made." I think the point of all that training is to make you face yourself. Until you've been there, you don't know what you're capable of. We watch, as we find out what this group, Seal Team Ten, faced, and what they did.  It's called "Lone Survivor" but that doesn't mean those who didn't survive didn't 'win'.

After the opening montage, the first scene is of a helicopter flying over a barren landscape. As they transport an injured Mark Wahlberg (as real-life lone survivor Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell), his narration explains: "There's a storm inside of us . . .  a burning, a river, a drive.  An unrelenting desire to push yourself  harder and further than anyone could think possible. Pushing ourselves into the cold, dark corners where the bad things live, where the bad things fight.  We wanted that fight."

Thank you, God, that there are men who are willing to do this. The movie is a love story to the SEALs and to Super Soldiersto any Soldiers or 'people' who are willing to fight with everything they are for a cause.  Not only does a Navy SEAL need to be mentally and physically tough, but to be a true hero he also has to have integrity and the strength of his convictions to do what is right when the pressure is on.  

The real life soldiers of the Lone Survior story

AFTER THE FIRST DEATH . . .
In the first scene of a helicopter over barren land, as they are transporting Mark as Marcus, he is badly injured and flatlines. That is pretty dramatic, and symbolic with artistic license as it didn't happen that way in real life. I didn't Peter Berg Writer Director of Lone Surviorread the book or know anything about SEAL Team Ten before I saw the movie. I learned after what the true story was. For me, the differences were choices that made the movie stronger, and less traumatic than an exact re-telling of the truth would have been. It's not a documentary. It's one thing to tell the truth on paper, and another to dramatize real-life events. These men gave their lives—there's no need to re-create that exactly. It would have cheapened it, been in poor taste, and way too hard on the families (it must have been unbearable anyway even though they surely came away consoled). The choices Writer/Director Peter Berg made in telling their story, truly celebrates who they were and what they did.

CHOOSE HONOR
The Navy SEALs' pride in being 'frogmen' is evident in the performances and script throughout the movie. They are a band of brothers. They have a code.  That came into play when they did the right thing by letting the innocent goat herders go (an old man and two younger men—a bit younger for the movie than in real life). They argued amongst themselves a little. On the face of it, it's just the personalities and an illustration of the issues of the war coming out. At the heart of it, it's what we all feel about the war we are fighting—you're either on one side or the other. At one point, they show the face of the younger 'enemy' boy, and Ben Foster as Matt "Axe" Axelson says "That is Shah" (the Taliban 'target' they are hunting). But their honor prevails as Marcus says: "They are unarmed prisoners." "Rules of Engagement say we cannot touch them."

the cast of lone survivor

Love this real-life interview where Marcus Luttrell puts a reporter in her place (slams dunks her, really, but with much more dignity than she deserved). I wanted him to say he did do the right thing, that what they did was the right thing to do. The only thing to do. How do I know? Because it was the one choice that was honorable. The SEAL Team's discussion forces you to consider what you would do in that situation. Clearly the reporter needs to re-examine her values. That's like the one thing she should not have said!

At the end of the movie, it brings us back to that opening scene, and the outcome after he flatlines.  I couldn't help but think of the fictional "Spartans" of HALO—as with their training, how much Marcus Luttrell endured is incredible (the fact that he's 6' 5" in real life helps as well). Without his SEAL training, he probably would have been down so much earlier. In the movie I heard the medics assess "multiple gunshot wounds"—in real life, he also got shot in the back after he broke three vertebra, and had lots of stone and tree fragments in him as well as the shrapnel! He was so beat to hell after falling, his pants got torn off him. Let that sink in. The movie narration says "I died up on that mountain. There is no question—a part of me will always be up on that mountain." Luttrell believes he was spared by God to tell the story. It puts a face on what they/we are fighting for, and that fight is not against Afghans, it is against evil. It is hard to imagine not believing in God after such a story.

John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

BREAKING POINT
Time and time again in this movie, against the odds, against an overwhelming enemy force, we watch as their training pays off and wonder at their unstoppable spirit. As you witness all that they endure, you marvel over and over again at how they can just keep going. How much they can withstand is so beyond the average. I felt I would have given up many, many times. Most people would probably have surrendered after being shot once, let alone when they were backed up to the first cliff (a physical representation of being pushed past the impossible. In real life . . . well, go find out for yourself how much more incredible that part of the real-life tale is). They NEVER give up. Only when it's physically impossible for them to move, do any of them stop.

In this 60 Minutes segment Marcus tells the heartbreaking real-life story and reveals the moment he feels he did give up; the moment he says he 'broke'. (Here is part 2.)  I say he never broke. His humanity is what came out at that moment, not defeat. It's because in real life he put his weapon down during Mike's death, because that's who he is, because they let goat herders go, that is why we have this story. He may have felt 'broken' (devastated) by loss, but in my mind he's a CHAMPION, not just for all he did that day (including and maybe especially 'breaking' to put his weapon down and cover his ears), but most especially, for his character. It's a heavy burden to shoulder but he was born to be the lone survivor.

Full Definition of CHAMPION

1: warrior, fighter
2: a militant advocate or defender [a champion of civil rights]
3: one that does battle for another's rights or honor [God will raise me up a champion — Sir Walter Scott]
4: a winner of first prize or first place in competition; also : one who shows marked superiority [a champion at selling]

Operation Red Wing SEALs

BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE
In this movie, the whole military culture is venerated. The camaraderie and austere lifestyle of soldiers on duty; the very American details: The checkpoint code words are beer brands, the sighting of target code word is "Rick James". As we meet the four main characters, pictures of the real-life men they are portraying decorate their barracks. We get to know little details of their personal lives. There are several cameos of Luttrell who plays a character named "Frankie". Not only does the movie, briefly yet immortally, bring them back to life, it drives home the importance of all that training. Pushed to their breaking point so they either give up or keep on, when they are faced with breaking points in real life, they know what they are capable of.  Marcus Luttrell was capable of being inherently good.

To contrast with that, they show the bad guys doing bad things so you feel dislike for them. Also there's a payoff later for a beheading. So many times in movies, they don't make you dislike the villains, so you feel nothing when things happen later. Just a little went a long way here. Plus, they must make the distinction between the Taliban Afghans and the Afghans who are fighting against them.  It puts a face on the 'enemy', and that is one of evil, not of all Afghanis. It might be said that, like Dances With Wolves was the Indians-are-People-too movie, this is the Afghans-are-People-too movie. It makes us see the part of Afghanistan that is not our enemy, and goes a long way to preventing racism and hate. Can you not see the hand of God in the telling of a story where soldiers are faced with killing innocents or letting them go? Had they killed them it would have been no different than Sept. 11th.

navy seal insigniaFROGMAN BROTHERHOOD
At the base camp, as we meet the various SEALs, through their differences we are shown a portrait of the SEAL brotherhood. They haze a rookie and make him show them his true self (breaking another barrier, the social barrier) (he dances). Then he has to pass a test and recite the "Ballad of the Frogman" (this varies from place to place online but I hope I got it as close as possible to the movie version):

"Been around the world twice, talked to everyone once.
Seen two whales fuck, been to three world fairs, and I even know a man in Thailand with a wooden cock.
I push more peter, more sweeter, and more completer than any other peter pusher around.
I am a hard-bodied, hairy-chestied, rootin' tootin' shootin', parachutin', demolition-double-cap-crimping frogman.
There ain't nothing I cant do—no sky too high, no sea too rough, no muff too tough.
Learned a lot of lessons in my life. Never shoot a large caliber man with a small caliber bullet.
Drove all kinds of trucks, two-bys-, four-bys-, six-bys-, those big motherfuckers that bend and go 'tch tch' when you step on the brakes.
Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing; moderation is for cowards.
I'm a lover, I'm a fighter, I am a UDT Navy SEAL Diver.
I'll wine, dine, intertwine, and sneak out the back door when the refueling is done.
So if you're feeling froggy, you better jump, because this frogman has been there, done that, and is going back for more. Cheers, boys!"

When you get to know them a little, it's so sad what happens later. If you can feel that way after a few minutes in a movie, imagine what they felt for each other after training. And you marvel that such young, strong men strive to live at the 'edge of the fight'. As I sit here now writing this, in comfort, I am eternally grateful.

THE MISSION
They've taken the high road, figuratively, and now they also do so literally.  You, and they, know that the enemy will descend on them as quickly as possible, the moment they let the old man and boys go.  I would have double timed it in the least likely direction, instead they go up looking for coms. The released, older, Afghan boy descends like a mountain goat and runs like the wind on his way to sound the alert.  (In real life, the Taliban soldiers catch up to the SEALS just an hour and a half later.)  As Team Ten aka "Spartan Zero One" retreats, they talk about their choice. Marcus had said "We are not killing kids" and "They are unarmed", but they ask "Did we do the right thing?" "Isn't that how things work . . . good things happen to good people?" What Marcus should know is that everything they did was right. Their dying was for the good of us all. Imagine the negative repercussions if they had killed those innocents that day. It could have really fueled the fires of evil.

 

LONE SURVIVOR TRAILER

 

Unfortunately, when they reach their destination (the next hilltop to get coms), they still can't get through for the help they need. They have reached a "false summit" because (I think) under stress they relied on sight and didn't know the lay of the land. The pacing in the movie is so well done. From when they get dropped in the field at night to begin their hike (which reminded me of Act of Valor with the equipment, the cautious way they survey the landscape, the night-vision goggles), to the moment before all hell breaks lose, Peter Berg does a really great job of building the tension, and then, like their uncontrolled slide to the bottom of the hill, the warfare is unrelenting and we take the hits along with them as they sink deeper and deeper into danger and death.

ON THE CLOCK
Outnumbered and out gunned, they still manage to kill a high number of the enemy. The scenes of engagement are really INTENSE. Accuracy counts. The moment before the first shot is fired, Mark as Marcus says he's ready to "punch the time card", meaning they get paid to kill and he's about to go to work. (How fucking horribly cool is that?! It's their job to protect us.)

After they engage the enemy, they have their backs against a cliff drop a couple times, and they have to jump and take really bad falls. That first one is a doosie. We have a little comic relief at the end of all the bone-cracking slams:

"You see—God's looking out for us."
"If that's God looking out for us, I'd hate to see him pissed."

Eric Bana as Commander Christianson in Lone SurvivorYou may know something like which direction to retreat in is best when you have time to look at it on paper, but in the heat of battle when you're on the run, there's no time to check a map. The enemy knows the terrain, and  your position, and what to push you toward.  I think it's only because they were SEALs that they survive those two bad falls. It's so hard to watch as any inch of their bodies that sticks out beyond cover gets hit by a bullet. One of them appears to be fatally injured in the second go-round, but probably three of them were, and we become acutely aware they are living on borrowed time.

Meanwhile back at the base . . . I was a little confused as to why Commander Christianson (Eric Bana) doesn't inform his superior officer that "Spartan Zero One" (as the unit of 4 men was called) had tried to reach him via Sat phone. Spartan Zero One had missed two (and then three) windows to report in, but they also tried to call for help (what else would they have used the SAT phone?!) It really builds the tension and frustration in the movie that at various stages they didn't have enough Apaches, they didn't have enough gas, they wouldn't let them fly without protection, and mostly, because of bad communications, all was lost.

But was it? If you see this story as a defeat you are wrong. All those things happened the way they happened for a reason. Even the 16 other members of the team who lost their lives in the helicopter died that day for a reason: Our freedom.

ENEMY TERRAIN
When they were waiting for the first attack, I thought how much would it have helped if they had motion sensors like Alien, or heat sensors like Predator . . . Then they'd know the number and position of the enemy, or at least which direction they were coming from. The whole movie is fraught with tension because they are in enemy territory, but once the fighting starts, it's magnified.  The nature of the terrain—uneven, lots of cover or places to hide behind trees and rocks—comes into play at every step.  When the radio takes a bullet, I wondered how is it we haven't yet made a bullet-proof radio? Or how come they aren't tracking the location of the men better?  We need more drones! Or microchips, or . . .  but it's just Peter Berg engaging me in the fight.

When they tumble through the landscape amid an obstacle course of rocks and logs and tree trunks, each of them already wounded here and there by bullets in several places, you  get a little comic relief once they regroup.  "That sucked."  The only consolation in having to run because the enemy knows where they are, is that it's harder to hit a moving target. Their state of decay is astonishing as they get dirty and cut and bruised and shot. The makeup in this movie should be nominated for an Academy Award.

Lone Survivor moving hiding in the rocks

Like in Blackhawk Down, things get worse and worse and worse.  To stop the bleeding, they are trained to pack a wound with dirt.  (Pictured in the center above, and below, Gunner's Mate Danny Phillip "Danny" Dietz, Jr. , played by Emile Hirsch, later goes into shock after a gunshot to the abdomen.) Mark Wahlberg as Marcus tells him:  "Let's suck it the fuck up—You're a fucking frogman!"

Emile Hirsch as Danny Dietz in Lone Survivor

The military-speak/Bad Ass one liners here that Acton Movie Freaks eat up is part and parcel of the camaraderie in a Super Soldier Action Movie.

Don't Mess With Texas"Smoke—we're coded." 
"I am the Reaper."
"We have a fallen angel."

There so many Bad Ass moments, you will come away in awe of these men.  I particularly enjoyed that Marcus Luttrell is from Texas and they put that in the movie. When Lutrell is rescued, the village boy points to a Texas Flag patch and asks Mark as Marcus about being American, he replies "Texas." Then the boy points at the American flag and Marcus says "America is Texas." 

LARGE CALIBER MEN
After the two cliff falls, as Luttrell and Murphy (played by Taylor Kitsch) assess their injuries (hear Luttrell describe his
real-life injuries), Murphy makes the decision to climb to a nearby spot that might offer Sat phone reception. Murphy knows it's a suicide mission. Luttrell knows it's a suicide mission. If you think it's agonizing to watch in the movie, imagine how Luttrell felt in real life. He broke, was how he put it. He says he put his gun down to cover his ears because Murphy was screaming his name. If you ask me, that is love. They were 'brothers'. Relying on each other so completely like that, it might have been some comfort to Murphy to call Luttrell's name. Dying words are the most meaningful of our lives and Marcus Luttrell should take consolation (if he can) in knowing that he was of solace to Murphy in that way even if he could not have helped him. They both knew before he decided to go, he just screamed anyway, to be heard, to exist, to connect, until the end.

taylor kitsch as michael patrick murphyThe last thing Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy sees in the movie is a mountain valley. Afghanistan is a beautiful yet desolate country. New Mexico was a stand in for the Hindu Kush mountain range between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Marcus Luttrell survived. That is his crime in his eyes, yet he believes God meant for him to live. The will to live is what defines us all and to hate being alive means to hate God's will, so I hope he's found peace with the burden/gift of living to tell the story. 

Of course the movie is very emotional. They do a good job of giving us little things to get to know the four men. The last thing Danny Dietz sees in the dramatization is a paint color/decorating theme selection from his wife that is a crumpled up by the enemy soldiers and thrown on the ground. A symbol of his state of mind that he was surely thinking of his wife when he died. 

The last thing Ben Foster as Matt "Axe" Axelson saw was . . . darkness? (He lost his sight because of the bullet to the head).  If they were trying to show he was sightless, I didn't get that. I thought he could still see as he aimed the last shots he had with his revolver. It was really moving to see someone so alive, so determined and skilled, sit down with his back to a tree and accept his death. (However much his death was different in real life,  I thought this version really honored his spirit and his efforts.)

One other way the movie is different is that the four men had no idea that one of the two Chinooks had been shot down.  It heightens the sense of hopelessness when Mark as Marcus sees Chinooks and Apaches come and go at different times, and then that they have lost one.

Ben Foster as Matt Axelson in Lone Survior

FULL HEART
Not to take away from exceptional performances by all the actors, but the standout of the movie for me was Ben Foster. He and Mark Wahlberg have this conversation (hope I got it right) just before the force of an explosion pushes them in different directions:

"Are we dead?" 
"Not yet."
"We're good, right?" 
"Fuck yeah."
"If I die, I need you to tell my wife I love her, and that I died with my brothers with a full fucking heart."

[Lutrell later named his son "Axe" after Sonar Technician Second Class Matthew Gene "Axe" Axelson.]

Marcus 
				Luttrell with his son Axe

FALLEN ANGELS
I felt the hand of God in the scene when Luttrell hides under the stone ledge. It appeared to me that God sent the men who rescue Luttrell. These Afghan men are just living by their principles. They have their own code. It's called Pashtunwali. According to Wikipedia, Pashtunwali "promotes self-respect, independence, justice, hospitality, love, forgiveness, revenge, and tolerance toward all (especially to strangers or guests)"

From the time of his rescue, the movie takes a turn from the real life story into Action Movie awesomeness. I applaud Peter Berg for theRambo-III-ness of it. The villagers send one man on foot to notify the Americans. We wonder, will the Cavalry arrive in time?  In true Action Movie form, they show up in force and DECIMATE the enemy. YES! That is what we want to see. Vindication. Justice. Ass kicking.

This movie is so good. It's clear that Peter Berg really got what mattered most and that Marcus Luttrell trusted him with the story. In a way he gave them a victory at the end when the planes shoot at the fleeing enemy.  If they hadn't done that, it would have been so depressing. We needed a victory to help us see they didn't die for nothing.  Regardless of what happened after, they died for you and me. They got trained, they suited up, and they went in to punch the clock.  So as you are punching yours in safety, you should remember how you are able to do that.

Marcus Luttrell's real-life rescuer, his angel, Mohammad Gulab, (pictured at right) is a man of honor, just like Luttrell. The two men have a friendship that should inspire us all to see our commonalities are greater than our differences. The 'enemy' has a face and if you blindly hate any group of people, it's wrong. You must treat them as individuals. You can't kill goat herders because they are part of a Taliban group, and you can't hate all Afghanis just because some of them are waging war against us. You must always do what is right as Team Ten and Gulab did here.

NEVER OUT OF THE FIGHT
If any group of people on earth have never been 'out of the fight', it has to be the Afghan people. Their civil war has been ongoing since 1978.  Think not only of the SEALS, but of the proud Afghan people, when you read the Navy Seal's Code:

"In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation's call; a common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America's finest special operations forces to serve his country and the American people, and to protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes who have gone before, it embodies the trust of those whom I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident, I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans, always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates, and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish the mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of the mission depend on me — my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required, yet guided by the very principles I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail."

And God knows, he did not.

 

 

______________________________

From IMDB:
Lone Survivor
is "[b]ased on the failed June 28, 2005 mission 'Operation Red Wings'. Four members of SEAL Team Ten were tasked with the mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah," and his second in command. 

As America did in real life, once again, an Action Movie finds itself in the middle of the Afghan Civil War. The War in Afghanistan (2001-present), according to Wikipedia, refers to:  "the intervention by NATO and allied forces in the ongoing Afghan War following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001" with the purpose of dismantling "the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and [removing] from power the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (aka Taliban government, which at the time controlled 90% of Afghanistan), and, [the] hosted al-Qaeda leadership." Some insight into the situation can be found in the real-life background of the first Afghan Civil War based action movie Rambo III.

To bridge the gap, read this: Again, from Wikipedia"Mujahideen forces caused serious casualties to the Soviet forces, and made the war very costly for the Soviet Union. In 1989, the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan." So, at the time, in Rambo III, Stallone was fighting with the Mujahideen rebels against the pro-Soviet Afghan government.

"However, the mujahideen did not establish a united government, and many of the larger mujahideen groups began to fight each other over power in Kabul. After several years of devastating fighting, a village mullah named Mohammed Omar organized a new armed movement with the backing of Pakistan. This movement became known as the Taliban ("students" in Pashto), referring to the Saudi-backed religious schools known for producing extremism. Veteran mujahideen were confronted by this radical splinter group in 1996." 

The Taliban entered Kabul on September 27, 1996, and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The Taliban . . . is an Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan. It spread from Pakistan into Afghanistan and formed a government, ruling as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from September 1996 until December 2001, with Kandahar as the capital. However, it gained diplomatic recognition from only three states: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Mohammed Omar has been serving as the spiritual leader of the Taliban since 1994.

While in power, it enforced its strict interpretation of Sharia law,[9] and leading Muslims have been highly critical of the Taliban's interpretations of Islamic law. The Taliban were condemned internationally for their brutal treatment of women. The majority of the Taliban are made up of Pashtun tribesmen. The Taliban's leaders were influenced by Deobandi fundamentalism, and many also strictly follow the social and cultural norm called Pashtunwali.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Massoud's United Front troops and United Front troops of Abdul Rashid Dostum (who returned from exile) ousted the Taliban from power in Kabul with American air support in Operation Enduring Freedom. From October to December 2001, the United Front gained control of much of the country and played a crucial role in establishing the post-Taliban interim government under Hamid Karzai.

From 1995 to 2001, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and military are widely alleged by the international community to have provided support to the Taliban. Their connections are possibly through Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a terrorist group founded by Sami ul Haq. Pakistan is accused by many international officials of continuing to support the Taliban; Pakistan states that it dropped all support for the group after 9/11. Al Qaeda also supported the Taliban with regiments of imported fighters from Arab countries and Central Asia. Saudi Arabia provided financial support. The Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians, and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes during their rule from 1996 to 2001.

Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee to United Front-controlled territory, Pakistan, and Iran. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Taliban were overthrown by the American-led invasion of Afghanistan. Later it regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the American-backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The Taliban have been accused of using terrorism as a specific tactic to further their ideological and political goals. According to the United Nations, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 75% of Afghan civilian casualties in 2010, 80% in 2011, and 80% in 2012.

In the closing credits to Rambo III the film is dedicated to "the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan." After the attacks of 9/11 this was changed to "the gallant people of Afghanistan."  

  

 



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