Rob Anders grew up with a pen in his hand, constantly writing about his travels and adventures as a young boy. His family moved often during his childhood, settling briefly in every time zone in the United States and for a few years in Europe. He attended eleven different schools before high school, including 4th grade in a rural German elementary school—without speaking the language. Rob was perpetually “the new kid” and early on he learned to adapt to new environments and appreciate different cultures.

On September 11th, 2001, Rob was beginning his senior year at the United States Military Academy at West Point. As the world erupted into violence, he knew he would be thrust into a new war. Upon graduation, Rob churned through the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Airborne School and Ranger School, eager to get to the front. Shortly thereafter, he arrived at his first assignment in Hawaii. He took charge of his platoon and began preparing them for combat. Rob and his men were expert managers of violence and destruction by the time they deployed to Afghanistan in early 2004.

As fate would have it, Rob landed in an unusual position for a junior officer in a complex and confusing war. In addition to his responsibility of executing tactical level orders with his platoon, he also served as a primary liaison to the highest ranking Afghan leaders in Paktika Province. Thus, Rob was perfectly positioned to gain a close-up account of life in the trenches as well as the operational and strategic tectonics of the battlefield. Rob’s depth of experience, superb military training and passion for writing are what make Winning Paktika such an extraordinary war story from the perspective of a culturally savvy Airborne Ranger on the front lines with a rifle and a pen.