Islamic State say they have captured Afghanistan’s Tora Bora caves

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Tora Bora was the site of a major US offensive in 2001, when Al-Qaeda chief bin Laden was hiding there before he crossed into neighbouring Pakistan. (Photo: AFP/ROMEO Gacad)

JALALABAD, Afghanistan: Islamic State militants, under pressure from Afghan and U.S. forces, have seized a new stronghold in Tora Bora, a mountainous area dotted with caves along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, officials said on Thursday.

The remote region in Nangarhar province was most famously used by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in late 2001, in a bid to hold out against the U.S. troops and Afghan allies who toppled the Taliban regime.

Now Afghan officials say Islamic State militants have seized cave complexes in Tora Bora, after days of fighting against Taliban who had been based there.

“Those areas around Tora Bora were a Taliban stronghold, but now Daesh militants captured them during fighting,” the police commander in the area, Shah Wali, told Reuters, using an Arabic term for Islamic State.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid acknowledged that Islamic State forces had managed to capture several villages, but he denied that they had seized Tora Bora.

General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has vowed to defeat Islamic State there this year, and in April used one of the largest conventional bombs ever dropped in combat to target a cave complex used by Islamic State in the nearby district of Achin.

“After Achin, Daesh was looking for a second stronghold and now they have it,” Wali said.

Abu Omar Khorasani, an Islamic State commander in Afghanistan, told Reuters that his fighters had seized Tora Bora and were also battling government troops, who are backed by U.S. ground troops and aircraft.

“We are in Tora Bora but this is not the end,” Khorasani said. “The plan is to take more territory from the government and the Taliban.”

The fighting has sent hundreds of families fleeing, said Malek Tor, a tribal elder who put the number of Islamic State fighters in the area in the hundreds.

An official with the U.S. military command in Kabul said Islamic State forces are “on the run” and “are attempting to take refuge” in the Tora Bora region.

“No matter where they are, there is no safe haven for them in Afghanistan,” the official said in a statement. “We will continue towards our goal of defeating ISIS-K in Afghanistan this year and ending their barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan people.”

Government forces have launched new operations targeting Islamic State, but more fighters are being recruited or crossing the border from Pakistan, said Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the Nangarhar governor’s office.

“You kill one Daesh fighter and 10 more come from the border or are recruited here,” he said.

(Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: Reuters

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This entry was posted in Afghanistan, International Terrorism, ISIS (Nhà nước Hồi giáo) and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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