The Real Story Behind the Hollywood Afghan War Epic, ‘12 Strong’

The Real Story Behind the Hollywood Afghan War Epic, 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers with Professor Brian Glyn Williams
Wednesday, March 28 at 7 PM
Sohier Room, Main Library

Brian Glyn Williams and Chris Hemsworth
Brian Glyn Williams (left) and actor Chris Hemsworth. Courtesy of the author.
For four years Professor Brian Glyn Williams roamed the mountains of Afghanistan retracing a covert operation that saw U.S. Green Beret Special Forces unite with ancient Mongol Uzbek horse warriors to fight the common Taliban foe. His greatest breakthrough came when he was allowed to live with the Uzbeks’ notorious leader, General Dostum, “The Taliban Killer.” The result of his fieldwork and embed with a Mongol Uzbek warlord who called American elite warriors his friends was his book, The Last Warlord: The Life and Legend of Dostum, the Afghan Warrior Who Led U.S. Special Forces to Topple the Taliban Regime.

Dr. Williams will bring The Last Warlord and the story behind it and the movie 12 Strong (partially based on his book) to life with extraordinary photographs of the covert 2001 U.S.-Uzbek horse campaign taken by the CIA, Dostum, and Green Berets. These are the only visual history of a secret campaign few were aware of. Dr. Williams will recreate this epic tale for using actual images of the men depicted in 12 Strong.

Dr. Williams has a PhD in Central Asian Islamic history and is a professor of Islamic History at UMass Dartmouth. He advised A-List actor Chris Hemsworth on the 12 Strong set and recently traveled to northern Iraq to assist in freeing a Yazidi slave from her ISIS captor. Visit his website at

Books will be available for purchase after the program. Free; no registration required. Info: email

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