Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
June 21, 2017
Afghan security forces have recaptured Tora Bora, a former fortress of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, from Islamic State (IS) militants, officials confirmed.
IS had taken the tunnel and cave complex in Nangarhar Province from the Taliban five days ago. The two militant groups are enemies.
The legendary complex of tunnels and caves once served as a hideout for Bin Laden, who escaped from the mountains into Pakistan after U.S. bombings and subsequent operations in 2001 failed to kill or capture him.
The “Tora Bora area of Pachiragam district is completely Daesh free,” the Nangarhar governor’s office said on June 20, using an Arabic acronym for IS. The recapture was confirmed by officials in Kabul, who said at least 22 militants were killed in the clearing operation.
Afghan security forces are now advancing toward the villages of Alif Khel and Meerkhany to push IS further back, the governor’s office said.
U.S. and Afghan forces have been battling IS in Nangarhar Province since its emergence there in January 2015.
In April, the U.S. dropped a massive bomb on an IS complex in Nangarhar, which the Afghan Defense Ministry said killed more than 90 militants.
Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
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