Swords of Lightning: Green Beret Horse Soldiers and America’s Response to 9/11

By Mark Nutsch, Bob Pennington, Jim DeFelice

The first-person account of how a small band of Green Berets used horses and laser-guided missiles to overthrow the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11.

They landed in a dust storm so thick the chopper pilot used dead reckoning and a guess to find the ground. They were met by a band of heavily armed militiamen who didn’t understand a word they said. They climbed a mountain on horseback to meet the most ferocious warlord in Asia. They plotted a war of nineteenth-century maneuvers against a twenty-first-century foe. They saved babies and treated fevers, trekked through minefields, and waded through booby-trapped streams—sometimes past the mangled bodies of local tribesmen who’d shared food with them hours before. They found their enemy hiding in thick concrete bunkers, dodged bullets from machine-gun-laden pickup trucks, and survived ambushes launched with Russian tanks. They fought back with everything they had, from smart bombs to AK-47s.

They overthrew a government, mediated blood feuds between rival commanders, and argued with generals and politicians thousands of miles away.

The men they helped called them gods. One of their commanders called them devils. Hollywood called them the Horse Soldiers.

They called themselves Green Berets—Special Forces ODA 595.