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Toby Harnden spent a decade in the British Royal Navy, deploying Internationally multiple times, retiring from naval service in 1994. A graduate of Oxford, Harnden embarked on a career in journalism that has spanned three decades and sent him to 33 countries while working for The Daily Telegraph and Times of London. While posted in Belfast, Harnden covered the Irish Troubles and from those experiences, he wrote his first book, Bandit Country: The IRA and South Armagh (1999). From 1999-2003, Harnden was the Daily Telegraph’s Washington bureau chief and was in D.C. on 9/11. He covered the Iraq War and later Afghanistan and from 2013-2019 was Washington bureau chief for The Sunday Times of London. His second book was Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain’s War in Afghanistan (2011). Extensive research and multiple trips to Afghanistan led to his most recent book, First Casualty-The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11 (2021). This is the incredible story of the first Americans airlifted into the mountains of northern Afghanistan in October of 2001, linking up with the Northern Alliance and taking the fight to the Taliban, culminating in the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi, where America suffered its first casualty in Afghanistan, Mike Spann. Harnden takes us through the riveting story of the political machinations of Washington immediately after 9/11, the initial CIA advance teams, Green Beret ODAs and the various warlords and ethnic groups that made up the Northern Alliance. Harnden also details his own fascinating career, from dealing with the IRA during the Troubles, to being detained by the Mahdi Army in Iraq, to being imprisoned in Zimbabwe.
You can learn more about Harnden and his books at: https://tobyharnden.com/
Follow Toby on Instagram: @tobyharnden1
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