The Lawfare Podcast: Lynzy Billing on Afghanistan's Zero Unit Night Raids

Jen Patja, Tyler McBrien, Lynzy Billing
Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 12:00 PM
In 2019, investigative journalist and photographer Lynzy Billing went to Afghanistan to investigate a very personal story: her own past. In the process, she discovered what she came to call a classified war, one with lines of accountability so obscured that no one had to answer publicly for operations that went wrong.

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In 2019, investigative journalist and photographer Lynzy Billing went to Afghanistan to investigate a very personal story: her own past. In the process, she discovered what she came to call a classified war, one with lines of accountability so obscured that no one had to answer publicly for operations that went wrong.

Lawfare managing editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Lynzy to talk through her four-year investigation, published last month in ProPublica. They discussed Afghanistan's shady Zero Units and their relationship with the CIA, the traumatic ripple effects caused by this lack of accountability, and why the U.S. continues to rely on a strategy of night raids, which Lynzy describes as quick, brutal operations that went wrong far more often than the U.S. has acknowledged. They also discussed why Lynzy decided to tell this story when few others would. 


Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Tyler McBrien is the managing editor of Lawfare. He previously worked as an editor with the Council on Foreign Relations and a Princeton in Africa Fellow with Equal Education in South Africa, and holds an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago.
Lynzy Billing is an investigative and feature journalist who has been reporting on Afghanistan since 2019.

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