Thursday, June 15, 2017

ISIS Captures Tora Bora, Once Bin Laden’s Afghan Fortress - nytimes

KABUL, Afghanistan — Tora Bora, the mountain redoubt that was once Osama bin Laden’s fortress, fell to the Islamic State early Wednesday, handing the extremists a significant strategic and symbolic victory, according to Afghan officials and local elders and residents.

Taliban fighters who had previously controlled the extensive cave and tunnel complex fled overnight after a determined, weeklong assault by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, according to villagers fleeing the area on Wednesday.

Hazrat Ali, a member of Parliament and a prominent warlord from the area who helped the Americans capture Tora Bora from Al Qaeda in 2001, said that the offensive was prompted by the American decision to drop the so-called mother of all bombs on an Islamic State network of tunnels in Achin District in April. The 20,000-pound bomb was thought to be the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed.

The Islamic State then decided to shift its refuge to the Tora Bora caves and tunnels, Mr. Ali said. “Some 1,000 ISIS militants were gathered close to Tora Bora, to capture the area,” Mr. Ali said. “I informed government forces to target them, and I told them they are trying to capture Tora Bora, but they did not pay attention.”

A local Afghan police official confirmed that the fortress had fallen. “ISIS has captured Tora Bora and areas around it,” he said. “The tribal elders are here in my office. They all escaped the area last night.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. 

President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday ordered the 201st Corps of the Afghan National Army to move against the Islamic State in the districts including the Tora Bora area, according to Attaullah Khogyani, the spokesman for the Nangarhar Province governor. Alim Eshaqzai, the deputy governor, said security officials would start ground, air and artillery operations against the Islamic State as soon as possible.- Read More

ISIS Captures Tora Bora, Once Bin Laden's Afghan Fortress 


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