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ISIS Just Moved Into Osama Bin Laden's Infamous Afghan Stronghold Of Tora Bora
ISIS militants in Afghanistan have apparently been undeterred by the 'Mother of All Bombs' that the U.S. dropped on them in April.
ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, the Islamic State's force in Afghanistan, seized the network of caves known as Tora Bora from the Taliban on June 14, the New York Times reported, citing local Afghan officials and residents.
Tora Bora, which is located in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, was Osama bin Laden's hideout until December 2001, when he narrowly escaped a botched US bombing campaign.
ISIS-K turned their sights on Tora Bora after the U.S. hit their previous hideout with the MOAB, Hazrat Ali, a member of the Afghan Parliament, told the Times.
Ali told the Guardian that "hundreds of ISIS fighters attacked Taliban militants in Tora Bora," killing 12 Taliban fighters.
“ISIS has captured Tora Bora and areas around it,” a local Afghan police official told the Times. “The tribal elders are here in my office. They all escaped the area last night.”
One tribal elder, Juma Gul, told the Times that “the Taliban escaped from the area last night and left us to ISIS with our women and children ... there was no resistance by the Taliban against ISIS, and local tribes had no way to fight them anymore, so we just escaped.”
ISIS began their assault on Tora Bora late Tuesday, Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman in Nangarhar, told The Guardian, and had taken many areas around it. But he contradicted others sources in saying that bin Laden's old hideout had not yet been captured.
A Taliban spokesman also told the Times that ISIS had not captured Tora Bora, and that fighting was still underway.
In August 2016, ISIS-K and the Taliban had reportedly forged a tenuous truce, promising to fight only the US-backed forces. But that truce has not seemed to have held.
Multiple clashes between ISIS-K and the Taliban were reported in April and May, resulting in multiple civilian, Taliban and ISIS casualties.
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While the U.S. military wants to keep roughly 8,600 troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban's deputy leader has just made clear that his group wants all U.S. service members to leave the country as part of any peace agreement.
"The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand," Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote in a story for the New York Times on Thursday.
In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.
Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.
Keltz says he thought he had escaped with little more than a mild headache. Initial assessments around the base found no serious injuries or deaths from the attack. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "All is well!"
The next day was different.
"My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck," Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq's western Anbar desert. "My stomach was grinding."
A video has emerged showing a U.S. military vehicle running a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria after it tried to pass an American convoy.
Questions still remain about the incident, to include when it occurred, though it appears to have taken place on a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli, according to The War Zone.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
Survival expert and former Special Air Service commando Edward "Bear" Grylls made meme history for drinking his own urine to survive his TV show, Man vs. Wild. But the United States Air Force did Bear one better recently, when an Alaska-based airman peed in an office coffee maker.
While the circumstances of the bladder-based brew remain a mystery, the incident was written up in a newsletter written by the legal office of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on February 13, a base spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.