Inside Afghanistan: On the ground with US troops

ABC News' Ian Pannell gives a rare look inside Afghanistan, where ABC News was given access to U.S. Special Forces on the frontlines.
11:07 | 08/23/18

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Transcript for Inside Afghanistan: On the ground with US troops
Reporter: I an ancient LAN ravaged by centuries of war. Where T line betwee and death is dangerously thin. With every step, an American soldier -- we're reclng and taking back grohat was lost years O- Reporter: -- Lng his troops in a war O terror that seems without end. Th every attack a once-vanquenemy is battling back. But despite the devastation and despair, hope. A young fights for her future. And for millions of oth innocent kids caught in the mid this is afistan in 201 test in American history.and it's still raging. I've been coverflts in this country for nea two dec in the last few weeks alone sons, daughters, sold, civians, hundr gunned down and blown up ban. And what's more,sis has expa into Afghanistan too. We've beenenlusive access to U.S. Special forces onthnes. To protect their city. Hen you guys are out here, some of the area, it's known H laid ieds I the are Y behind us at all times, okay? Reportehe S team of green be stationed here is led byatrol leader mter sent Brian. You're finding ieds or booby aps? What are the dangers for your buys? Just aboutverything out here. How many ieds are out e?untold? Untold number, yeah. Rorter: The mission is take back L that used to be controlled by ISIS. What'r looking a now is the U.S. Military striking ISIS positions, ISIS tunnels, trying to degr theca. But Whiley have air superiority, T truth is they still have to put tros on the ground to take the fight to the miles. The next phase launch before. Mastert leads his elite troandn commandos on the ground operation. We moved to the M , dismantlet out of the vehicles, started a vantsing towards this cluster of houses this small village. I never this rt. No. They can see us coming. Reporter: The ground littered with B lefty ISIS and the going is as slow as it is dangerous. Ery building, every ro every door could be rigged with explosives The troave just moved into a whole ser of compounds, in others houses, that they're trying to clear.they're coming across a number of ieds eve timehey go into some oese buildings so they've got to ercareful. They're also wary there could ISIS fighters inside the Ied. There's more here as well. Rter: Every man knows all tooell that death stalksheir ev. More than00 can troops haied since there O this war. Many more injured. Ied. Ied where? Let's see. Yeah, that's nothing in the. Orter: This time it's a false alarm. But the next one isn't. That wooden St That's pressure plate. Ow commons it to come acrosshis kind of device this. Timee come down in we've found them, so orter: Too dangerous to dismantle, they de to blow uead. Charges are being laid. In secondsre's going to be a loud bang. That was a big one. Whoo. You can hear T sound O some of the shrapneom down from the explosion and the reaction the G tells M that that was obviously aery large chargehat had B laid ground. Let's goe aook and see quite howig that actually was. Come in, have a look at the size thecrater. That would have caused a lot of damage. Yes. Casualties at least. Yes. Repr: The people here driven out by ISIS. The troops busow convince them it's safe to come home. What', ttle guy? To feel for the civilians here, caught in the middle of something they don't ch I do, you know. Th trying toet back in here and establish security so they canome back in here and build. Reporter: These mountains haveee hideout for terrorisor years. Osbiladen Ledl Qaeda and the 9/11acks from here. Ours I war against terrorism in general. Reporter: Troops deplo to gonafghanistan in 01. Three U.S. Presidents pd victory here. We areinning war on terror. Our Lon war wbeover. We W win. Reporter: The war's CLI 100,000 afgn live and this yearas been E worstfor civilian deaths.the exclusive pictures were taken for ABC from insid Taliban territory. They now control or influence over than half thcountry, with their own government, police, courts. Many of their fingers have died inle. Others are now on death ro Heading into one O main prisons in Afghanistan T th houses 4,000oned terrorists. We'ring here T try to talk to the but the prison guards are D, theve told us it's not safeinside. But the inmates seemed eager to us. Were all these men in the Taliban? Prisoner says they're defending their counand they N't stop until alleign oops leave. What would you like T say to the American people, who the fathand mothers of soldiers who have been killed? We should GHT. You won't stop? No. We will not stop fight against americanoldiers who are still here. I they left tomorrow, you K there could peace in anistan? Yeah,yeah. Reporter: Although the Pentagon stoppedeasing the officialber O troops in mbat, it's est the americanitary force on the ground innistan is S about4,000 to 15,000 strong. Ur-star general John Nichols commands all U.S. Andeign troops here. We joined him H a the capital, kabul. You come here, you find out that afgha people are fighting against our enemies as well, and the willing to fight and die really in defe Reporter: After 17ong, military can't win T war and that it might be Tim T try to make deal with the very people who have been fighting all thistime, the Taliban. How W you feel a sittingdo talking to the liban? We want to ends our homeland, and provide a L level of violence forhe Afghans. So iftere necessary, then lutely. Wouldn't feel queasy about it? No, I Thi we want to end this war. Reporter: Since our T ABC learned of secretne-on-one S betwemerica and the tain the last few weeks. Lot Afghan people are despera for a path to peace,he are also fears a Dea would risk a return to thetal rule of th Taliban. So many would lose out. Especially women and girls. 16r-old Fatima has known nothing butar her whole life. Every dhe puts here on the line just by going to school, by being gir who dares to dream.u're very brave. Are you ever worried forour N safety? You've been very outspoken. Fatima is o00 students at thislite all-girls' sc, partly funded by the U.S. There a many stereotypical images of what I like for women young girls in afistan. Noess to education, staying at , not able to work. Let me sw you something very, very different here.today more than one-third of ghanistan's girlsren education. But theangers arereal. Do you think things are gi for girl Afghanistan? It's littlechanges. S C do it yw. The ,Y can't. Reporter: Fatimnd these girls H ercome countless obstacles. They were catapulted onto world stage WHE their schoolmatese an historic trip to the united stat Ging back a medal for courage. Do you think you aren inspiration to other young girls in afghan? Reporter: She was welcomed home a hero. But I Afghanistan, few can escape the reaf war. Just days later,n isisui bomber attacked theal sque, killing her da Fatima honored her father during a recent speech at the Oslo freedom for she says her dad used to tell her she shouldays stay strong. For now girls who dream of peace and T.S. Soldiers who dream of home must hold O to some hopehat America's longe R can reallye to an end. For "Nightlin" I'm Ian pannel reporting from ka Afghanistan.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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