Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan

Osprey Publishing – Elite 163

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In this companion volume to “Special Operationd Forces in Iraq”, Australian intelligence specialist Leigh Neville details the units and operations of the British, American and other Coalition nations’ Special Operations Forces (SOF) committed to the War in Afghanistan since 2001. 

Drawing on declassified material that hadn’t yet been published in the mass media, this book provides an expert analysis of the largest mobilisation of Special Forces in recent history – and delivers a fascinating degree of insight into specific operations; including details of the weapons, uniforms, equipment and first-hand accounts of combat experience.  As a result, this book provides a crucial overview of the successes, failures, and tragedies that occurred in the rugged Afghan mountains from 2001-2002, and beyond.

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The book covers the actions of US Special Operations Command – including  the US Army’s Special Forces, Delta Force, and Rangers, and the US Navy SEALS and Naval Special Warfare DEVGRU, and the US Air Force Combat Controllers.   Also covered are the actions and operations of the British SAS and SBS, the Australian SASR, Canadian JTF-2, and other coalition special forces such as Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway – as well as MI6 and CIA operational units, and more. 

Also included is a valuable introduction that covers the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal and the rise to power of the “Afghan Arabs” and the Taliban, the Northern Alliance and the initial deployment of the very first Special Forces troops and CIA agents.  The book concludes with a chapter on the specialised weapons and equipment used by Coalition SOF in Afghanistan, and an Appendix about private security contractors.

CONTENTS:

  • INTRODUCTION
  • OPERATION ‘ENDURING FREEDOM’
  • OPERATIONS OCTOBER–DECEMBER 2001
  • OPERATION ‘ANACONDA’, 2002
  • UNITED KINGDOM SPECIAL FORCES
  • COALITION SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES
  • SPECIAL OPERATIONS SINCE ‘ANACONDA’ (incl. ISAF)
  • WEAPONS & EQUIPMENT
  • APPENDIX: PRIVATE SECURITY CONTRACTORS
  • PLATE COMMENTARIES

Besides the expertly-written content, the book also contains a wealth of previously unseen photographs, and the usual series of colour plates illustrating soldiers from many of the major combat units engaged in operations.  The plates are the one area of the book that I felt a little bit let down by – they’re good, and they depict some interesting characters, but I felt that the quality of the artwork isn’t as good as many other books in the ELITE series.  I also noticed two errors in the book – the colour plate depicting a German KSK soldier incorrectly features an M4-style magazine in his G36K, and a photo of KSK soldiers embarking for a night-time mission identifies their rifles as the G36C model, when in fact they are carrying the “K” model.  The selection of photographs on the other hand is superb.

All in all, the book is excellent and extremely interesting – I highly recommend it.

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For more details, check out Osprey’s website.



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