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Tora Bora

Tora Bora ("black dust") is a fortified encampment with an extensive network of tunnels, located between two mountain ridges in a region of cliffs and forests which is difficult to reach by land. It's located in the White Mountains in eastern Afghanistan, south west of Jalalabad near the Pakistan border. The phrase "Tora Bora region" is often seen in news reports, but it's not clear if name was used before the camp was constructed.

It was originally built by extending natural caves, with assistance of the United States (probably the CIA) in the early 1980s for use by mujahedin during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

In 2001 it was in use by al-Qaeda and was suspected to be the headquarters of Osama bin Laden. It was described in newspapers as a suitable lair for a villain out of the James Bond movies: variously as a multi-storeyed cave complex harnessing hydroelectric power from mountain streams, or a lower-rise dwelling with hotel-like corridors capable of sheltering more than 1000. It supposedly also contained a large cache of ammunition, such as FIM-92 Stinger missiles left over from the 1980s. To complete the James Bond scenario, al-Qaeda were suspected of developing nuclear and biological weapons.

The Northern Alliance and U.S. fought to capture it from al_Qaeda in December 2001.


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