Militants aim to capture strategically important Tora Bora Mountains, fighting fierce government opposition
Visiting the troops on the frontline in the Chaparhar district close to strategic Tora Bora, Gen. Mohammad Zaman, commander of the Afghan National Army’s 201st Silab Corps, said that around 700 militants of the terror group were killed in the past three months alone during ongoing Hamza operations.
Brushing aside the militants’ claims of capturing Tora Bora, he called it “psychological warfare” meant to keep security personnel away.
Following reports that pro-Daesh militants are advancing towards the strategically important Tora Bora Mountains close to the border with Pakistan, Afghan forces have launched intense ground and air offensives to deny them access to the complex network of caves and tunnels in these mountains, which have been home to the anti-Soviet Mujahedeen as well as Osama bin Ladin, the slain al-Qaeda leader.
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri told Anadolu Agency that government forces are in full control of the situation, and the militants would never be able to capture the mountain. Hundreds of families have fled the area due to renewed clashes.
In April the U.S. Forces - Afghanistan (USFA) dropped the so-called Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) on Daesh hideouts in the neighboring Achin district of Nangarhar province. Officially known as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, the MOAB unleashed 11 tons of explosives.
Up to 90 militants were reported dead and a complex of caves and tunnels were destroyed in this attack.
Earlier this week, the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) of parliament urged the Kabul government to take immediate steps to deny the militants access to Tora Bora, otherwise it would become all but impossible to target them if they managed to establish bases in these complex caves and tunnels.
Zaman once again said that the group is receiving an uninterrupted supply of militants across the border from Pakistan, a claim Islamabad has time and again rejected.