The Battle of Tora Bora
was a military engagement that took place in Afghanistan
in December 2001, during the opening stages of the war in that country
launched following the 9/11
attacks on the United States. The U.S. and its allies believed that al-Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden
was hiding in the rugged mountains at Tora Bora
, but despite overrunning the Taliban
and al-Qaeda positions they failed to kill or capture him. Bin Laden was able to escape to Pakistan.
() is a cave complex situated in the White Mountains
of eastern Afghanistan, near the Khyber Pass
In 2001, it was suspected to be in use by al-Qaeda
and the location of bin Laden's headquarters, variously described as a multi-storied cave complex harnessing hydroelectric power from mountain streams, or a lower-rise dwelling with hotel-like corridors capable of sheltering more than 1,000. It was also said to contain a large cache of ammunition, such as missiles
left over from the 1980s.
The outposts in use in 2001 were originally built by extending and shoring up natural caves, with the assistance of the CIA
in the early 1980s (Operation Cyclone
) for use by mujahideen
during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
, but several may date back to much earlier periods, as the difficult terrain has been used by tribal warriors fighting foreign invaders since ancestral times.
At the end of 2001, al-Qaeda
fighters were still holding out in the mountains of the Tora Bora region.
On December 3, a... Read More