Friday, September 24, 2010

The Siachen Syndrome - Pakistan

Aug 1998
It's a battlefield like no other on earth, where the elements and not enemy fire accounts for 95% of all casualties.

A cease fire line was mapped out in the lower country but the politicians didn't bother to negotiate a boundary here. It is after all, uninhabitable. But as the power struggle escalates, every bit of territory counts. The high altitude combat is costing each side $730 million dollars a year. At 19,000 feet both sides lose on average two soldiers a day to oxygen deprivation or frostbite. Those that are tough enough to survive often go mad with the 'Siachen Syndrome' - a result of the isolation, the constant bombardment, and the grim reality of having to kill the only other human beings they may see in their three month posting. Caught in the crossfire, a shell explodes overhead. Aimed at the small valley town of Athamuqam, these shells are designed to spray hundreds of deadly metal fragments. India's test of a nuclear artillery shell has the population daily expecting armaggeddon. We meet a truck-full of Kashmiris fleeing the besieged town in search of food. There is nothing low-key about this fighting, it's incessant and deadly. The K2 postings are a lesson in the lengths India and Pakistan are prepared to go, to secure the next victory in Kashmir.

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

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