Tora Bora, Part 1

Posted By: Erica

In December 2001, the Tora Bora mountains in eastern Afghanistan were believed to be the last refuge of Osama bin Laden. US air strikes barraged the Tora Bora area, dropping hundreds of bombs and artillery shells. Unfortunately, Bin Laden and associates were not the only ones hiding in the caves. Though sparsely populated, the Tora Bora area had been home to Afghan families for generations. When the bombing began, many of the families fled to refugee camps in Pakistan but not everyone made it out.

A few weeks ago I talked to Nazir, who lost family members in the Tora Bora bombings. He said half of his family had fled to Pakistan but that his brother stayed behind with his family in Tora Bora. Every night, he and his family would listen to the BBC and Voice of America on the radio for news of what was happening just across the border. One night he heard the news about Tora Bora and immediately headed back into the conflict zone to find out what had happened to his family. “I went from vehicle at first, then by foot. It took me two days,” he said. It is normally a 5 hour journey or less.