The ‘Mother of All Bombs’ was dropped on ISIS territory yesterday, though the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan already had quite the history in America’s Middle Eastern campaign. Not the least interesting part about this is that the tunnel system held by the Islamic State was possibly built out by CIA.
Ever since 9/11, the Nangarhar mountainside has served as a strategic location and hideout for radical Islamic forces that have engaged America throughout the War on Terror. Back in 2001, the Battle of Tora Bora was fought there when American forces launched one of their first efforts to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden.
The al Qaeda leader was hiding out in the region at the time, and yesterday, Wikileaks put out a tweet about why that was the case:
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 14, 2017
The 2005 article from the New York Times reports about how Bin Laden worked alongside the CIA to liberate Afghanistan from occupation by the Soviet Union during the 1980’s. The base in Tora Bora was described as “part of a C.I.A.-financed complex built for the mujahadeen,” and Bin Laden made further improvements to it when he turned the complex into the hideaway where he was engaged by special forces.
The article also refers to another mujahideen operative, Yunis Khalis, who reportedly received weapons and large sums of money in his own efforts against the Soviets. Khalis and Bin Laden were acquainted with each other, and their connections enabled them to build up a network with links to the Taliban.
Bustle also noted that Nangarhar has a lot of poppy fields, which invites the possibility that ISIS might have followed the Taliban’s example of producing opium to raise money. The tunnel system has also benefited human and weapons trafficking across the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan.