It was the news the world breathlessly waited for immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks: a report of the first American troops on the ground in Afghanistan. All at once the world’s attention focused on an iconic photo of those Special Operations Forces doing something no American military had done in nearly a century: They rode horses into combat. Their secret mission: secure northern Afghanistan by advising the warring tribal factions that formed the Northern Alliance.
Were the Horse Soldiers really the first U.S. troops to be sent to Afghanistan after 9/11?
Yes. In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the elite U.S. Special Forces unit, Operational Detachment-Alpha 595 (ODA 595), was one of three teams of Special Forces soldiers sent into Afghanistan. At first, their mission was one of personnel recovery, tasked with rescuing any pilots shot down during the air war in Afghanistan. However, the mission quickly changed and became about convincing ethnic leaders (some were more similar to warlords) to join forces with them to fight their common enemy: the Taliban and its Al Qaeda allies.
Source: History Vs Hollywood