Tora Bora: Tora Bora is a desolate location at the base of the White Mountains, 30 miles southeast of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Two large valleys swim beneath the base of the complex, spreading to the Pakistani border in three directions. Atop 13,000-foot ridge lines, the Tora Bora caves are encircled by steep 4,000-foot cliffs and a muddle of undeveloped mountain passes and animal trails. The cave complex was to the right of the dam (white line that is crossing the river).
Literally translated as "black dust," the al Qaeda complex in Tora Bora has been the paramount location for jihad operations for 25 years. The complex is an extensive network of caves well-concealed in the jagged mountainside, covered in a shadowy dusting of thick soil. The caves were originally formed by rainwater dissolving the limestone underground, but during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the natural fortress was outfitted as a military base for mujahedeen fighters.
Equipped with ventilation systems and a water supply, the caves are a sophisticated network of tunnels. Some are reportedly big enough to accommodate armored vehicles. Al Qaeda fighters have developed makeshift storerooms for ammunition and food and living quarters. But the conditions at Tora Bora are most inhospitable. The elevation is high and the temperature is bitterly cold, a condition compounded by the damp and dark nature of the underworld.
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