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 bombs 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. Welcomed by a band of heavily armed militiamen, 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 trekked through minefields, sometimes past the mangled bodies of local tribesmen who’d shared food with them hours before. They saved babies and treated fractures, sewed up wounded who’d been transported from the battlefield by donkey. They found their enemy hiding in thick bunkers, dodged bullets from machine-gun-laden pickup trucks, and survived mass rocket attacks from vintage Soviet-era launchers. They battled the Taliban while mediating blood feuds between rival allies. They fought with everything they had, from smart bombs to AK-47s. The men they helped called them brothers. Hollywood called them the Horse Soldiers.

They called themselves Green Berets—Special Forces ODA 595.