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Ask Forgiveness Not Permission - Book Review

Published: 20 Nov 2012

Ask Forgiveness Not permission by Howard Leedham. Bene Factum Publishing, 2012. Paperback £12.99. 338 pages with 16 pages of colour photographs. ISBN 978-1-903071-67-0. Reviewed by Mike Draper.

If you are looking for Christmas or birthday present ideas, I strongly recommend you put this book by former Junglie pilot and member of the FAAOA, Howard Leedham onto your wish list. This true account reads like adventure fiction; it even has a forward by Frederick Forsyth but is the true story of how one man's drive and can-do spirit overcame the scepticism of Pakistani military leaders, the administrative lethargy of diplomats and the bureaucracy of procurement in 2004, to establish a helicopter-borne assault force in Pakistan capable of striking against the Taliban.

The introduction grabs the reader describing a successful operation of the fully trained intervention force. The book then jumps back in time to describe how this superbly trained unit came to be, starting with Howard Leedham's recruitment and continuing through the training, tasking and eventual operational deployment of Pakistan's Heliborne Assault Force or HAF. We encounter many fascinating characters along the way, not least the silent and deadly Pathan warriors who make up the fighting force. I found myself caring about many people in the book, though not, it must be said, the senior US diplomats in the Islamabad embassy.

Somehow Howard Leedham winds his way around every obstacle and succeeds in his mission. You will be amazed by his ingenuity and stunned by his cheek but you will end up liking him and admiring what he achieved. And all you have to do now is manipulate someone into buying you this book. You will not regret it.

Also available as an audiobook.


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