I recently talked to Toby Harnden, FIRST CASUALTY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE CIA MISSION TO AVENGE 9/11. Toby’s in-depth account quickly became a must-read for me. We must revisit history to know what the future may hold, and this book does that; it tells you what those first weeks in combat were like with an enemy we may see again.
Excerpt “By December 2001, ten CIA teams—including Team Alpha and totalling a few dozen CIA officers—had secured victory across Afghanistan. Fighting alongside them were Special Forces troops operating symbiotically with US air power. Among those troops was a unit from Britain’s Special Boat Service (SBS), operating in the tradition of their country’s Special Operations Executive (SOE), which inspired the OSS. Jettisoning a directive that restricted their ability to fight, the SBS headed toward the sound of gunfire.
The complexity of Afghanistan was apparent to Team Alpha. False surrenders, switching sides, warlord machinations, prisoner abuse, suicide attacks, and ethnic ferment were facts of life. This was a country—if it was a country at all—that could not be controlled. After the surviving members of Team Alpha left Afghanistan, the US military took over and American forces became occupiers rather than insurgents. Conventional troops poured into the country, and fortified bases were established.”
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