Looking for the Perfect Christmas Gift or Reading Material? Look No Further

Award-winning author Toby Harnden has crafted an incredible story of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan immediately after 9/11. His book, “First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA to Avenge 9/11,” was initially slated to be released on the 20th anniversary of the U.S. involvement. Still, during his detailed 17-month research into putting this book together, the Afghan government collapsed, and the Taliban returned to power once again. 

Harnden was granted some incredible access to the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) employees, some of whom are still in government service. All of their stories and remembrances make for compelling reading. But as Harnden said, sometimes the best stories are the true ones. And this one is fantastic. 


The Plan

The story begins on 9/11 when the members of al-Qaeda hijacked the planes and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the one aircraft that was crashed into rural Pennsylvania. America is shocked and on its heels, reeling after ignoring some intelligence reports that the terrorists intended to bring death to America. Signals and intelligence were missed or not shared. 

President Bush convened his National Security Council on September 13, and the Pentagon revealed that they had no war plan for Afghanistan. CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks told the president it would take months to build up enough conventional troops for an invasion. CIA Director George Tenet turned the meeting over Cofer Black, an experienced Agency hand who had spent many years in Africa. The CIA’s plan was to infiltrate small numbers of Agency linguists and paramilitary officers along with some Green Beret A-Teams (ODAs) into Afghanistan to link up with the Afghan resistance, warlords from the Northern Alliance. Black sensed that President Bush wanted his pound of flesh. 

“When we’re through with them, they will have flies walking across their eyeballs,” he said. 

The President pondered for several seconds before asking, “Cofer, can we really do this?” Black stared back at the President for several seconds for theatric effect and said there wasn’t a doubt in his mind at all. Bush responded with, “That’s what I’m talking about. Go get ’em.”