Operation Eagle Strike III was supposed to be a single-day military strike, but it ended up erupting into a violent, nine-day clash between elite U.S. forces and the Taliban in the heart of one of Afghanistan's most turbulent areas.
And as the chaos unfolded, journalists Mike and Carlos Boettcher, a father and son duo, were deep in the trenches alongside embattled U.S. troops. Mike, a veteran war journalist, had covered conflicts many times before -- but there was something very different about this face-off.
[sharequote align="center"]"The next time you thank an American in uniform you'll know what the hell you're thanking them for."[/sharequote]
"In 34 years of war reporting it was the most intense fight I have witnessed," Mike told TheBlaze in a recent interview.
The harrowing battle that began March 28, 2011 is featured in "The Hornet's Nest," a documentary that covers the Boettchers' experience on the battlefield.
Watch the trailer below (caution: violence):
Footage in the film offers viewers a glimpse into the war through the journalists' perspective, giving viewers a first-hand look at U.S. troops' heroism.
The documentary also includes footage that was captured by Taliban fighters. Mike exclusively shared some of this video with TheBlaze -- footage that was captured by terrorists who were filming the battle from their perspective.
The men shown in the clip are setting up their assault on U.S. soldiers, according to Mike.
"These Taliban fighters that are filming this attack for propaganda and proof that they fought against the Americans," Mike told TheBlaze, going on to share the motivation. "This video was taken using a cell phone as proof for possible payment, a last picture for loved one in the event the attackers are killed or to be made into a CD/DVD to be sold in the bazaar to fund the Taliban."
Watch some of the Taliban footage below (caution: violence; Taliban clip begins at 1:40):
Mike told TheBlaze that he originally embedded in the Middle East because he felt that the media were ignoring U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, he quit his job with NBC news and self-funded his full-time oversees efforts in an effort to tell soldiers' stories. ABC News later stepped in and became a major funding source.
[sharequote align="center"]"In 34 years of war reporting it was the most intense fight I have witnessed."[/sharequote]
Now, Mike is hoping that "The Hornet's Nest" will show viewers the plights soldiers face on the battlefield.
"When you see this film, the next time you thank an American in uniform, you'll know what the hell you're thanking them for," he told TheBlaze.
The filmmaker also described the dangers he and Carlos faced while embedded, noting that one is never safe on the battlefield.
"Everything in Afghanistan is designed to kill you. I do have 34 years experience in war zones, so I have developed instincts that help keep me alive," he said. "But if you are going to serve on the front line, your life is in the hands of God."
Read more about "The Hornet's Nest" here.