Operation Cerberus was a covert military operation aimed at eliminating terrorists stationed in Afghanistan and smuggling heroin into the United States.
During the War in Afghanistan and after the fall of the Taliban government, multiple terrorist organizations would emerge to challenge the coalition-led government in Kabul, leading to the longest war in American history.
William Rawlins, determined to decisively end the conflict, teamed up with Major Ray Schoonover to create an operation that would accomplish his goal. The operation would be carried out by Cerberus Squad, a team of elite US soldiers, and would be centered in Kandahar. Their missions would involve capturing, interrogating, and killing high-value targets.
Unbeknownst to the squad, these missions were not only illegal but were unsanctioned by United States Congress or the CIA, who Rawlins claimed were fine with it. The interrogations were led by Rawlins who used torture to extract information and often involved the execution of the captive once the info was obtained.
Since Operation was illegal and did not have congressional approval, Rawlins decided to use heroin trafficking to finance the operation. With the help of Morty Bennett, Rawlins smuggled large amounts of heroin from Afghanistan to the United States, using the bodies of US soldiers. These drugs would then be sold on the streets by Schoonover, who became a powerful drug lord known as the "Blacksmith" in the process.
Assassination of Ahmad Zubair
A member of the Afghan National Police Ahmad Zubair began investigating the movement of heroin traffic and murders in Kandahar. He discovered that the illegal activities were being carried out by the United States Armed Forces soldiers, and relayed his suspicions to Dinah Madani, a Homeland Security Liaison. She assured him that he would be protected for his testimony.
Unfortunately, Zubair was captured by Cerberus Squad before he could testify. He was falsely labeled as a terrorist by William Rawlins, who tortured him to try to find out who else knew about his illegal operation. When Zubair did not reveal his confidant, Rawlins ordered Frank Castle to execute Zubair and bury his body outside of Kandahar.
Ambush in Kandahar
As Operation Cerberus progressed, terrorist groups caught onto Cerberus Squad's tactics. They leaked information that a high ranking terrorist leader was located in Kandahar in an isolated compound. William Rawlins ordered Cerberus Squad to attack the compound despite the risk of ambush and a terrain unsuited for helicopter evacuation. The battle proved to be a disaster, with Major Ray Schoonover losing an arm and most of the squad dead or injured. The remaining squad members were saved due to the actions of Frank Castle, who single-handedly fought his way into the compound and killed the insurgents inside.
When returning to base, Rawlins coldly and repeatedly asked the surviving squad members if they eliminated their target, unconcerned with the large casualty rate. Frank Castle proceeded to punch Rawlins in the side of head hard enough to puncture the orbital socket and blind him in the left eye. With the squad heavily injured and the loss of confidence in Rawlins' leadership, Operation Cerberus shut down soon after.