May 28, 2022
Today we have a unique Combat Story and our first ever with an
Afghan Special Operator, Farida Mohammadi, and one of her American
trainers Taylor Holliday. Farida was a member of the elite Female
Tactical Platoons (or FTPs which numbered fewer than 35) that we
heard about in episode 68 with former Ranger Battalion operator
Farida, like all FTPs, had to pass a rigorous special operations selection process and were trained in CQB, a variety of firearms, and tactics, just like their male counterparts. She then went into battle alongside Rangers, ODAs, and Afghan Special Forces to give you an idea of the level of expertise required.
We’re also fortunate to have Taylor here to share parts of her story as a Cultural Support Team member (the FTP trainers) who not only trained women like Farida but who also went on the objective with Special Operations units.
Taylor is a part of Sisters of Service, a non-profit formed by fellow CSTs to help evacuate Farida and other FTPs out of Afghanistan after everything fell apart and help them resettle in the US. It’s a selfless organization and I hope by the end of this interview you’ll find a way to contribute to their cause (and help women like Farida who were taking out HVTs in Afghanistan and now need to find a better life here in the US).
I hope you enjoy this very special Combat Story with two very special operators as much as I did.
Find Farida and Taylor Online:
-Politico Article on FTPs: https://www.politico.com/interactives/2022/afghan-women-soldiers-taliban-us-refugees/
-Sisters of Service Website: www.sistersofservice.org
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-Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle
0:00 - Intro
0:54 - Guest Introduction (Farida Mohammadi and Taylor Holliday)
2:24 - Interview begins
7:37 - Growing up in Afghanistan with school 2 hours away, working on farm, and experiencing the Taliban
12:29 - Things Americans may not know about Afghanistan
15:02 - Why Farida joined the military even though it is not expected for women
18:21 - The type of work and missions FTPs would do
24:19 - Farida’s first combat experience as an FTP
27:28 - Taylor’s first combat expereince as a CST, serving women and children, and being nervous searching people
31:17 - Combat Story (Farida) - Being shot at by both Taliban and Afghanistan National Army while not having any ammunition
34:17 - Combat Story (Taylor) - Waking up to a firefight at the compound
36:30 - The burden and pressure of training FTPs to go into very dangerous missions
38:59 - The evacuation of Afghanistan
45:05 - Sisters of Service - Why they started and the work they are doing
50:26 - What did you carry into combat?
54:40 - Would you do it again?
55:36 - Letter from Patrick Kinsella about Farida as a soldier
59:51 - Listener comments and shout outs