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Afghan forces close in on ISIS-held caves in Tora Bora

Salaam Times


Afghan security forces on June 16 patrol during an operation against 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) militants in the Tora Bora village of Pacheragam District in Nangarhar Province. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

Afghan security forces on June 16 patrol during an operation against 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) militants in the Tora Bora village of Pacheragam District in Nangarhar Province. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

KABUL -- Afghan security have cleared most of mountainous area of Tora Bora, Nangarhar Province, of "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) militants, said Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri Monday (June 19), according to Khaama Press.

Afghan troops have liberated the Alif Khail (Khel) area in Pacheragam District and are moving forward to clear the entire region of the militants, said Afghan National Army (ANA) spokesman Sherin Agha Faqiri, according to Voice of America (VOA)'s Dari Service.

Afghan troops still have not reached the Tora Bora cave complex, a local police commander, Nawaz, told VOA Dari, adding, "The majority [of villages between troops and Tora Bora] are under government control."

"Only a small area remains before Afghan forces gain control of Tora Bora," Hijratullah, acting chief of Pacheragam District, confirmed to VOA Dari.

The anti-ISIS operation is called Fourth Flood No. 7.

Afghan troops are inflicting heavy casualties on militants in the area, said Waziri, according to Khaama Press.

The security forces carrying out the operation have not reported casualties, according to the Nangarhar provincial government.

Looking ahead, authorities are [planning] ways to keep Tora Bora secure after the operation ends.

Reportedly, they are planning to found local militias and to expand police and military outposts in the area.

Turf war

ISIS fighters captured Tora Bora, a mountain cave complex in eastern Afghanistan, on June 15.

By the next day, Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) had already launched an operation against ISIS in the region.

Taliban and ISIS militants are locked in combat throughout Afghanistan, vying for the ability to extort and plunder the civilian population.

The two groups have been supporting their terrorist activities by seizing cash and other assets from civilians.

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