Horse Soldiers, The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton; 2009; $18.00; 395 pages; Scribner, New York, NY; 978–1-4165-8052-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hollywood; 5/9/18-5/18/18
Why did I read this? Because I saw the trailer for “12 Strong”, which is the movie based on this book and I wanted to read the accurate account.
Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 12 U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers traveled to Afghanistan to assist the soldiers of the Afghan Northern Alliance in their guerrilla war against the Taliban. When they reached the headquarters of the Northern Alliance Generals, they found the headquarters in a cave and an old mud fort. When they traveled and entered the battlefield they did so on horseback. Most of them had never ridden a horse before and suffered from saddle sores and sore limbs. Most of them were not willing to show to the Afghans that they didn’t know how to ride and wanted to respect the Afghan militia and their customs. They augmented the Afghans’ weapons, many of which were left behind by the Soviets, with some cutting edge guided bombs and other more modern equipment. Both sides had left over Soviet weapons, although the higher technological weapons like tanks and jets were utilized by the Taliban. At the point the story here ends the Northern Alliance had seemingly defeated the Taliban. The way the US Army special forces worked alongside the Northern Alliance has become a model for how U.S. Troops can work with fighters from other cultures. I hope the United States military does not forget the lessons they learned from the Horse Soldiers.
What is with the title of the review? 12 Strong is the title of the movie starring Chris Hemsworth that is based on this book.