Half a century ago, as war raged in Vietnam, an isolated community in the jungles of northern Laos was recruited by the CIA to help fight the Pathet Lao – the Laotian equivalent of Vietnam’s Viet Cong.
Over 50,000 of the Hmong tribe became part of the United States's secret army, helping disrupt Communist supply lines along the Ho Chi Minh trail.
Thousands of Hmong died in the war. But their problems did not end when the Americans withdrew.
Fearing a crackdown by Laos communist forces, many fled the country. But some several thousand stayed behind and continued to fight what they called "Red Laos" from deep within the jungle, where they lived in hiding.