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IS moves to seize Osama bin Laden's hideout

IS moves to seize Osama bin Laden's hideout

The caves had until now been under Taliban control.

"Some 1,000 ISIS militants were gathered close to Tora Bora, to capture the area", Ali told the Times.

The tunnels of Tora Bora were built by the Taliban with the United States help during the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-89), and later served as an Al Qaeda and the Taliban stronghold during the 2001 USA invasion.

According to testimony from al-Qaida captives in the US prison at Guantamo Bay, Cuba, bin Laden fled from Tora Bora first to Afghanistan's northeastern Kunar province, before crossing the border into Pakistan.

The militants seized the territory from the Taliban this week, in a strategic and symbolic victory just two months after the USA military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb ever used on a nearby I.S. stronghold.

He also said a U.S. airstrike on Taliban positions on Wednesday which killed 11 of its fighters and had benefited ISIS.

Abu Omar Khorasani, an ISIS commander in Afghanistan, said that his fighters had seized Tora Bora and were fighting Afghan government and USA forces.

The Taliban said that the group had occupied areas around Tora Bora, in Nangarhar province, but denied that it had captured the caves.

Afghan Defense Ministry's spokesman Daulat Waziri would not say whether IS was in complete control of Tora Bora.

Brushing aside the militants' claims of capturing Tora Bora, he called it "psychological warfare" meant to keep security personnel away.

"This is an area where "culture eats strategy for breakfast". They will need constant logistical local supply to stay in Tora Bora".

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.

"You kill one Daesh fighter and 10 more come from the border or are recruited here", he said. "We will continue toward our goal of defeating ISIS-K in Afghanistan this year and ending their barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan people".

The U.S. military on April 13 dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, in eastern Afghanistan in the Nangarhar province, where it was targeting a network of ISIS tunnels and personnel in the Achin district.


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