Synopses & Reviews
Command refused to commit the forces required to achieve total victory in Afghanistan. Instead, they delegated responsibility for fighting the war's biggest battle-one that could have broken Al Qaeda and captured Osama bin Laden-to a hodge-podge of units thrown together at the last moment.
At dawn on March 2, 2002, America's first major battle of the 21st century began. Over 200 soldiers of the 101st Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions flew into Afghanistan's Shahikot valley-and into the mouth of a buzz saw. They were about to pay a bloody price for strategic, higher-level miscalculations that underestimated the enemy's strength and willingness to fight.
Now, award-winning journalist Sean Naylor, an eyewitness to the battle, details the failures of military intelligence and planning, and vividly portrays the astonishing heroism of these young, untested U.S. soldiers. Denied the extra infantry, artillery, and attack helicopters with which they trained to go to war, these troops nevertheless proved their worth in brutal combat and-along with the exceptional daring of a small team of U.S. commandos-prevented an American military disaster.
In this "New York Times" bestseller, an award-winning combat reporter reveals how close American forces came to disaster in Afghanistan against Al Qaida after easily defeating the ragtag Taliban that had sheltered the terrorist organization behind the 9/11 attacks.
Award-winning combat reporter Sean Naylor reveals how close American forces came to disaster in Afghanistan against Al Qaida—after easily defeating the ragtag Taliban that had sheltered the terrorist organization behind the 9/11 attacks.
At dawn on March 2, 2002, over two hundred soldiers of the 101st Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions flew into the mouth of a buzz saw in Afghanistan's Shahikot Valley. Believing the war all but over, U.S. military leaders refused to commit the extra infantry, artillery, and attack helicopters required to fight the war's biggest battle— a missed opportunity to crush hundreds of Al Qaida's fighters and some of its most senior leaders.
Eyewitness Naylor vividly portrays the heroism of the young, untested soldiers, the fanaticism of their ferocious enemy, the mistakes that led to a hellish mountaintop firefight, and how thirteen American commandos embodied "Patton's three principles of war"—audacity, audacity, and audacity—by creeping unseen over frozen mountains into the heart of an enemy stronghold to prevent a U.S. military catastrophe.
About the Author
Sean Naylor is a senior writer for the Army Times. He has covered the Afghan mujahideen's war against the Soviets, and American military operations in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Named one of the 22 "unsung" influential print reporters in Washington by American Journalism Review in May 2002, he earned the White House Correspondents' Association's prestigious Edgar A. Poe Award for his coverage of Operation Anaconda.