Reports from Afghanistan say the extremist group Islamic State (IS) has captured Tora Bora, a mountainous area in eastern Afghanistan that was once Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden’s hideout.
An audio recording broadcast on the militants' Radio Khilafat station on June 14 said the IS flag was flying over the extensive cave and tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province following fierce clashes with Taliban fighters.
Unidentified local officials and elders confirmed that Tora Bora and surrounding areas have fallen into IS control. They also said that several days of fighting have prompted hundreds of families to flee their homes.
However, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on June 15 that the group had pushed back IS fighters from the areas that they had earlier captured.
Al-Qaeda militants led by bin Laden hid in the warren of caves in Tora Bora following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 that ousted the Taliban from power in Kabul.
The United States invaded because Al-Qaeda carried out the September 11, 2001, terror attacks that brought down the World Trade Center in New York, damaged the Pentagon, and killed nearly 3,000 people.
Based on reporting by AP, dpa, Pajhwok, and The New York Times