Mother of All Bombs Hit CIA-Built Tunnels: Wikileaks

The world’s biggest conventional bomb destroyed what the CIA helped to build during the Cold War

The tunnels used in Afghanistan by the Islamic State group that were blown up on Thursday by the world’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb were built by the CIA, according to whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks tweeted out a screenshot and a link from a 2005 article from The New York Times which explained how the intricate tunnel networks of the Tora Bora in Northern Afghanistan were used by former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.


“Those tunnels the U.S. is bombing in Afghanistan? They were built by the CIA,” WikiLeaks tweeted with the screenshot.

The article, written by Mary Anne Weaver, detailed how the Tora Bora tunnel networks dated back to the Cold War battle between the Soviet Union and Afghan mujahedeen fighters, whom bin Laden was previously a part of.

During the 1980s, the CIA sent huge amounts of military aid and training to Afghan forces pitted against the Soviet military in an attempt to halt the spread of Soviet power in the region. Part of this CIA support for the mujahedeen included building tunnel complexes complete with bunkers and base camps that were built deep into the Tora Bora mountains of Eastern Afghanistan.

The tunnel networks had later been used by the Taliban and in 2001 as part of the war in Afghanistan, U.S. forces targeted the complex with the belief that bin Laden and al-Qaida troops were hiding deep within the tunnels.

Now the U.S. believes that the Tora Bora caves were being used by other Islamic militant groups, most notably the Islamic State group, and was used as justification for Thursday’s drop of the “mother of all bombs” on the Achin district of the Nangarhar province.

“The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the media after the attack.

The bomb which was used for the first time in battle, “targeted a system of tunnels and cave that ISIS fighters use to move around freely,” Spicer continued.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan claim that in dropping the US$16 million bomb, they took “every precaution to avoid civilian casualties.” On Thursday evening, the Afghan Defense Ministry said that 36 Islamic State group militants were killed in the attack and that there were no civilian casualties.

The huge blast from the 21,600-pound GPS-guided bomb was likely to be felt by at least 95,000 people and locals recounted a deafening blast and earthquake-like tremors. Other reports citing locals said that the area was no long under the control of Islamic State group militants.

In other tweets, WikiLeaks noted that amid the hype of the MOAB being dropped, in 2016 the Obama administration on average per day dropped more bombs than the weight of a MOAB.


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