Book Review- Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds

Sep 3, 2011

Green Beret Major Rusty Bradley co-authored this book and narrates the action. He was there in the middle of the fight in 2006, leading a Special Forces unit and a group of Afghan soldiers in a bitter fight against Taliban fighters. This is one of those rare books that really puts you in the middle of the action. Bradley’s Special Forces A-Team was assigned the task of providing a diversion for a much bigger NATO attack, spearheaded by Canadian forces. They were also to be a blocking force to cut off the retreat of fleeing Taliban forces.

When the Canadians got into trouble and were in danger of being beaten back, Bradley came up with a plan to seize a hill that would give them the high ground and allow them to call down artillery and air attacks on the Taliban, thus taking the pressure off of the Canadian forces. Bradley’s ten man A-Team and two others, along with around fifty Afghan troops fought an intense, bloody fight to capture the hill. When the Taliban forces realized that the Americans had seized the hill, Sperwan Ghar, they turned their attention from the Canadians and the outnumbered Special Forces and their Afghan allies became the center of the attack.

Over a thousand Taliban fighters tried repeatedly to recapture the hill. The thirty Americans and fifty Afghans fought savagely. The Americans called in air attacks danger close, often right on top of their own positions to get the enemy off of them. Finally, the Taliban had had enough and left. They left behind about eight hundred of their comrades, killed or wounded, including eight Taliban commanders.

There was a cost for this Allied victory. Many of the Special Force soldiers, including Bradley were wounded. Many of the Afghan soldiers that fought side-by-side with the Americans to free their country were wounded. Many of those wounded would have died had it not been for the heroics of their comrades who shielded their bodies with their own while they received first-aid and the heroics of the medevac pilots who flew into hot landing zones to retrieve the wounded. Books like this make me proud to be an American, but I am also humbled by those who are willing to sacrifice so much to protect the nation that they love.

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