How War Traumatizes the Victims and the Perpetrators

On the podcast: A new film explores the experience of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

By , the executive editor for news and podcasts at Foreign Policy.
A scene from the film Jirga. Lightyear Entertainment
A scene from the film Jirga. Lightyear Entertainment
A scene from the film Jirga. Lightyear Entertainment

Australian troops have been fighting alongside American, British, and other coalition forces in Afghanistan for nearly 18 years now—since soon after the 9/11 attacks.

More than 40 Australian soldiers have died there over the years. Like other veterans of combat, many have suffered emotional trauma over things they did, saw, or had done to them on the battlefield.

A new feature film from Australia called Jirga explores that trauma by focusing on one Australian soldier struggling with guilt over his killing of an Afghan civilian. The soldier returns to Afghanistan hoping to offer an apology to the family.

Australian troops have been fighting alongside American, British, and other coalition forces in Afghanistan for nearly 18 years now—since soon after the 9/11 attacks.

More than 40 Australian soldiers have died there over the years. Like other veterans of combat, many have suffered emotional trauma over things they did, saw, or had done to them on the battlefield.

A new feature film from Australia called Jirga explores that trauma by focusing on one Australian soldier struggling with guilt over his killing of an Afghan civilian. The soldier returns to Afghanistan hoping to offer an apology to the family.

The film’s director, Benjamin Gilmour, is our guest on First Person this week. The film was shot on location in Afghanistan.

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