Soldier Captures POV Footage of Intense Firefight with Taliban in Afghanistan

We’ve shared some pretty intense footage captured using helmet-mounted cameras in the past, but perhaps none as crazy as the video above. Shot by a US soldier in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, the video offers a point-of-view look at what it’s like to face machine gun fire from the Taliban. [Editor’s note: Be warned — there’s a bit of mature language.]

The soldier writes,

I got a hit a total of 4 times. My helmet cam died and I made it down the mountain on my own. I was also hit in the side of my helmet and my eye pro was shot off of my face. We were doing overwatch on the village to recon and gather intel. I was point heading down the face of the hill with the LT. when we got hit. The rest of the squad was pinned down by machine gun fire. I didn’t start the video until a few mins into the firefight for obvious reasons. I came out into the open to draw fire so my squad could get to safety.

A round struck the tube by my hand of the 203 grenade launcher which knocked it out of my hands. When I picked the rifle back up it was still functional but the grenade launcher tube had a nice sized 7.62 cal bullet hole in it and was rendered useless.

It’s chilling to see small puffs of smoking and dust burst out of the ground around the soldier’s feet as he’s scrambling down the slope. Thankfully, his body armor protected him from the 4 bullets that actually hit him, allowing him to escape with no serious injuries and with a ridiculous video to show the world (and his grandkids).

(via Gawker via Imaging Resource)

  • Sebastian Harris

    Brilliant for this US soldier to be doing this. Shows you how realistic that s**t is.

  • ozakiyuyu

    gosh that was really intense…

  • 3232323

    the guys just firing without aiming….

  • El Grifo

    Moron if you ask me ! No cover at the top of the ridge, no cover on the way down. Does the idiot think he is Rambo or something ?? Fake !! I’m hit !!!! WTF, did you expect nutjob

  • Bruce Lim

    I wanna say this is just like the video games…But it’s totally not. Far more intense…especially once he gets pinned down towards the end and the Taliban knew exactly where he was…

  • sdsdsds

    yeah who would have thought that it is realistic….. lol

  • Simon Meisinger

    thank you captain obvious!

  • Steve

    I’m not even going to look at this. I’m from the UK but what are our countries still doing in Afghanistan? As soon as we leave, its going to be chaos again. I’m all for going after the real terrorists but this has gone on 10 years too long now.

  • Mark Westhorn

    Real wish I change guns…but really it scary out there

  • Ben Evans

    Interesting that the dreadfully offensive ‘f-word’ was censored.

  • Allochtonio

    indeed man, this scared the crap outta me, no respawns or anything. i guess it’s bravery to climb down while you are getting shot at so your squad can get to safety. man i’m just glad he’s alive.

  • DafOwen

    In the description it does mention : ”
    I came out into the open to draw fire so my squad could get to safety ”
    But yeah – does seem foolish to be out in the open, under effective fire, and no cover.

  • flyinmom

    Sometimes, when I read the comments under these videos, I’m ashamed of counting myself as part of the human race. This young man is doing something real and shitass crazy scary. Yes, it’s like a video game, except his LIFE is at stake. He’s doing what a point man has to do…be the POINT of fire. “Not aiming at anything”. He’s offering himself as a target, and trying to stop people from shooting at his unit by shooting out at whatever he can. And so a bunch of you bright lights sit out here, in the safety of your office, or bedroom, or some hotel room somewhere, spitting out ridiculous commentary about him, the presence in Afghanistan, whatever. I say: thank you, sir, for looking out for the safety of your unit, for performing tasks that I hope to God my sons never register for. The military is a thankless and difficult job and we are lucky to have men like you who serve and protect, regardless of whether we agree with the decision to be there or not. You do a job that none of the rest of us want to do, but which allows us to live in what we all know is the “free” world. And thank you, sir, for releasing this stunning video to prove what a REAL firefight is about, and reminding us that this situation isn’t a game, it’s a frightening piece of deadly reality. For those of us who call ourselves “shooters”, we take pictures…don’t
    let us presume to judge this young man for shooting in a situation that
    99.9% of us will never be in.

  • Dutchlad

    Shame Petapixel wastes place/time on such an embarrassing video.

  • benicio

    There’s drawing fire and there’s running around in the open just asking to be shot. Brave SOB but he’s just asking to become a statistic

  • St

    I just want to know what the hell was petapixel thinking when putting this up on the site. Seriously guys what was you justification…there is no ”merit” in this just some poor guy in Afghanistan fighting for his life. This is no ”First Person Robert Capa” people.

  • tuedeldue

    fake and gay

  • WEP 1-5

    As an old Marine veteran I can tell you all for sure that this young man couldn’t give a crap less what you X-box commandos think. He is taking care of his soldier brothers and thats all that counts.

  • Mute

    I have no idea what he’s doing tactically but I do know I’m in no position to judge or criticise.

  • dick

    says colonel cynicism

  • Charlie Victor

    No, I’m not a soldier – but could a soldier please chime in? It doesn’t seem too sharp to break cover and advance by yourself (falling ass over tea kettle), firing from the hip and screaming over and over that he was hit. Sure, if I was a Taliban, I’d probably notice him and try to get him first, but is this part of good tactics? How does it help his squad for him to get nailed halfway down that hillside…someone would have to go get his ass, and get shot at as well.

    PS: It’s a good deal he didn’t have a round in that 203.

    PPS: We need to get our guys out of there yesterday.

  • Dick

    He shared it originally… Petapixel is a photography blog. They’re showing practical applications of helmet cams. I just want to know what the hell you’re thinking posting comments anywhere?

  • Dick

    Shame on you for being an idiot.

  • Dick

    No one asked about your social demeanor

  • bob cooley

    Actually, he is aiming. Remember that the Cam is on the helmet, and his ACOG (the thing that looks like a scope) clearly comes up to where his eye is before he fires.
    He’s been trained, and its a basic part of doctrine (just like – hopefully – you put your eye to the viewfinder before pressing the shutter).

    He’s shooting at the movement he can see in the distance. The point is to try to keep the enemy more occupied while your squad moves.

    2 reasons you can’t see what he sees (and probably the prompting of the “not aiming” comment):

    1) Helmet cams typically have the equiv of a 10mm lens on them (by 35mm equiv field of view). So objects in the distance will appear much further than to the naked eye.

    2) He’s using his EYE to aim, not the camera. You don’t get to see what he’s aiming at because its REAL LIFE, not a FPS Video Game, and the viewpoint /scope isn’t set for your interaction.

    All politics aside, this is a stunning view of what its like from the POV of someone in what is a very difficult situation (having to be point on the face of a hill where you are exposed to those trying to kill you). To those who were saying that its fake – very doubtful. If you’ve ever seen bullets hit near your feet as you do in this video, you know how dangerous the situation has just become. The video was fairly un-frightening until that moment – but as soon as you start seeing bullets hit near him, you know he’s in trouble.

    And I’m in agreement with @09199102a58afbc125243251b70785c2:disqus – you may not agree with or understand the politics of the situation, but neither does the foot soldier. He’s doing his job, under orders that come from further up the chain of command.

    And while its very much your right (and duty) as a citizen to question the reasoning and politics of these conflicts, you can’t question that soldier who is putting his life in harms way. He’s doing the most difficult job on the planet. He doesn’t represent the politics, or the policies, he carrying out orders and helping to keep his fellow solders alive in an impossible situation.

  • Patrick Downs

    thanks for a great addendum!

  • Patrick Downs


  • Patrick Downs

    No one asks to be shot. Really.

  • Patrick Downs

    Right on!

  • Patrick Downs

    One thing baffles me: why he didn’t have his rifle slung? At one point he drops it, so it clearly wasn’t. Could have been bad.

  • bwilli88

    Bozo, didn’t sling his weapon, takes forever to change mags, fails to use cover,

  • St

    oh ”Dick” I was hoping that I will get some sad internet troll to comment something like this and there you are.
    ”Practical application”…oh how right you are.Thanks for putting me in my place….comment judge and jury ”Dick”.

  • Alan Dove

    Since you’re obviously an expert on battlefield tactics, where can we find the POV videos that show how brilliant you are in actual combat?

  • Rob S

    ok, I AM a soldier and I am glad my fellow soldier is ok.

    I have NO idea why he was going DOWN an exposed slope under fire with apparently no support. Where is your buddy?

    No idea why he didnt use that VERY effective 40mm Grenade launcher.

    As for shooting without aiming – Yes he is using an ACOG but I would not call those aimed shots.

    Having said all that, if you arnt there, you dont know. I just hope he and all the others get home save and soon

  • Rob S

    OK, go to the YouTube to get the soldiers description and it makes more sense. There were performing overwatch of the village below so the had to stay up on the hill. The soldier intentionally exposed himself to draw fire. Yikes! Not the preferred course of action but a hell of a brave one.

    Since he was doing overwatch, using the 203 was limited – dont want to blow up your own guys. He “dropped” his weapon when it got shot out of his hands and the result was a large hole in the M203 tube. End of mission for that.

    For all the folks deciding stuff based on the video think about this – I have been a soldier for well over 20 years and without context, I was confused by the video. A picture may be worth a thousand words but sometimes those words tell the wrong story.

  • Christopher King

    It wasn’t, he says it later in the video.. the audio seems to have cut out the first time he says it.

  • Christopher King

    You’d rather some glorified video that your politicians and media would use to brainwash your children to kill and be killed?

  • Rob S

    IF you go to the actual YouTube video there is more context.

    My body armor weighed over 40lbs (18kg). It makes you very unstable when moving downhill. Of course that body armor saved his life.

    He was intentionally drawing fire toward himself to allow others to break off an engagement.

    The 203 round would have been fine. They are quite safe unless you spin them. They arm after a certain number of twists.

    He was NOT firing from the hip and based on the context from the YouTube post, he was only trying to suppress with the bursts at the beginning.

  • Rob S

    He didnt drop it, it got shot out of his hands.

    Most of us use a modified sling that is more like a wrap.

  • Rob S

    What you might not know is that this firefight was in progress when he hit record on his cam. He might have had good reason for having his rifle unslung at that point.

  • Mark Lehr

    This is the reason and watching Saving Private Ryan I quit playing ‘combat’ related video games and when my son was growing up encouraged him to not play them either as they trivialized real combat.

  • ATrapAtNoon

    You asked…

  • Marcus Lyra


    A taking care of soldiers brothers? That’s ridiculously common.

    Never forget that you’d never been there. Killing humans, runnning risks, for a political game in whitch the ones who created this game are settle in a confortable chair smiling to a camera right now.

    Givin them a “name” of veteran is nothing more than buying your life value with a nickname.

  • zZz.xXx

    “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy…”

    Henry Kissinger

  • AF Veteran

    El Grifo. Sounds Spanish of some sort. How about you go back to your home country and leave our American soldiers alone?

  • aleksey

    Every soldier has the right to die. They are poor souls. This isnt a honourable job to do,
    it isnt a job either…

    Soldiers, go home and go get a real job!

  • Travis Lawton

    I think this was an amazing video and really shows what it’s like to be in real combat. The kind where you don’t just die and wait for the next round to start. You don’t know how you would react unless you were put in this exact same scenario. Unless you’re a soldier, you have no place in commenting about his actions.

  • 243242432

    yeah.. to stupid to get a real job so you have to catch bullets-… LOL.

  • 534534534543

    +1 idiots… alltogether…. dying for the corporate greed.

  • Jackson Cheese

    YouTube comments are the lowest form of discourse anywhere on the internet. Best to ignore them.