About the Book

102 Days of War
How Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda & the Taliban Survived 2001

by Yaniv Barzilai

Almost ten years before Osama bin Laden was killed, the United States had the opportunity of a decade to decapitate and decimate the organization that so ruthlessly enacted the deadliest foreign attack on American soil in the nation’s history. During the battles that raged across Afghanistan in the 102 days after 9/11, CIA officers and special operations forces allied with local Afghan resistance forces to topple the Taliban and go after al Qaeda. Yet bin Laden escaped while al Qaeda and the Taliban endured the initial onslaught.

In 102 Days of War, Yaniv Barzilai takes the reader from meetings in the White House to the most sensitive operations in Afghanistan to explain how America’s enemies survived 2001. Using a broad array of sources, including interviews with U.S. officials at every level of the war, Barzilai concludes that the failure to destroy al Qaeda and kill bin Laden when he was cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora in Eastern Afghanistan was not only the result of a failure in tactics but, more importantly, the product of failures in policy and leadership.

Barzilai also explores critical moments in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship as Pakistan pivoted toward the United States but hedged its bets. As Operation Enduring Freedom draws to an inconclusive end, 102 Days of War provides a new level of understanding about the successes and failures at the start of America’s longest war.


  • Richard Armitage – Deputy Secretary of State
  • Gary Berntsen – Top CIA officer in Afghanistan
  • Steve Coll – Pulitzer-prize winning author of Ghost Wars
  • Amb. James Dobbins – Special Envoy to the Afghan Opposition
  • Douglas Feith – Under secretary of Defense for Policy
  • Dexter Filkins – Pulitzer-prize winning journalist
  • “Dalton Fury” – Leader of the Army special operations team at Tora Bora
  • Stephen Hadley – Deputy National Security Advisor
  • Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad – National Security Council Director for Southwest Asia
  • Gen. James Mattis – Commander of Task Force 58
  • John McLaughlin – Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
  • Lt. Gen. John Mulholland – Commander of the 5th Special Forces Group
  • Gen. Richard Myers – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Condoleezza Rice — National Security Advisor
  • Michael Scheuer — Chief of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit (1996-1999)