A battle for Afghan hearts

CBC's Darrow MacIntyre spent six days in an Afghan village, watching soldiers try to build relationships with the community in hopes of keeping the Taliban out.

Six days with Canadian platoon in the Taliban heartland

In the stifling heat and dust of rural Kandahar, Canadian soldiers are waging a different sort of on-the-ground battle — one aimed at swaying the hearts and minds of villagers.

CBC's Darrow MacIntyre and cameraman Marc Robichaud spent six days with members of Canada's Delta Company in the southern Afghan village of Nakhonay, watching as they tried to build relationships with elders while also clearing the area of tonnes of explosives.

In Nakhonay — located about 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City in the Panjwai district, the Taliban heartland — homemade bombs, also known as improvised explosive devices, are the single biggest killer of Canadians.

Lt. Shawn Veinot and Maj. Wayne Niven, who command the Canadian platoon, say their job is to be a NATO presence in a place that's never had one, in an effort to keep the Taliban out. But it can be stressful, and deadly, work. Five soldiers have died during the platoon's seven-month tour.

Watch The National's documentary, which aired on July 13, for a glimpse of the soldier's life in Nakhonay.