Every American adult knows exactly where they were and what they were doing on the terrible morning of September 11, 2001. But until recently, only a small handful knew about the extraordinary events that unfolded in the immediate aftermath. With the country still reeling, 12 brave members of the U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces—known as the Green Berets—left their homes and loved ones to take on a perilous classified mission in the war-torn country of Afghanistan. These “12 Strong” were chosen to strike the first blow in America’s response to the terrorist attacks.
They were not ordered to go. They volunteered to go.
Now the true story of these dozen warriors is being brought to the big screen in the new action drama 12 Strong.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer offers, “While the American public was still in shock, these men ventured into the unknown, into a situation fraught with danger, to try and settle the score and bring us a victory. They had to leave their wives and kids at a moment’s notice, with both they and their families not knowing where they were going or if they’d ever make it back. The operation was classified for a number of years—most people have never even heard of the story—but these men are true heroes.”
Codenamed Task Force Dagger, the mission was as much diplomatic as it was military. Fuglsig explains, “This small Special Forces team was to link up with a local warlord named General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a leader in Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance, in an effort to help him regain control of the region. It was the initial step in America’s fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda after 9/11.”
The Northern Alliance, a fragile coalition of Afghan military leaders, had itself become somewhat fractured in the years since its formation in 1996, but, regardless, there was one thing that united them: their mutual desire to rid their country of the ruthless Taliban.
Chris Hemsworth, who stars as Captain Mitch Nelson, the leader of the Special Forces team, notes, “These Green Berets weren’t there as occupiers; they were there to assist the Afghan people who had been fighting for their freedom. Without much prior intel, they had to come in and earn the trust of Dostum and his men or they could never have accomplished their mission. What I loved about this story was it was a chance to show Americans working side-by-side with the Afghan people to fight a common enemy.”