KABUL, Afghanistan — Islamic State fighters captured some territory around Tora Bora, the former stronghold of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, officials said Wednesday.
The push and capture of the giant cave complex that once housed the late al-Qaida chief would be a major scoop for the Islamic State group in its increasingly deadly rivalry with the Afghan Taliban. The caves had until now been under Taliban control.
Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman in Nangarhar, said IS attacks in the mountain range began late on Tuesday night. Clashes continued into the day, with IS militants battling the Taliban and some local villagers in the area.
By Wednesday, the Islamic State group had managed to seize some territory around Tora Bora — but not the bin Laden hideout itself, Khogyani said, adding that there were unspecified casualties on both sides.
"I can confirm that the IS fighters occupied some areas around Tora Bora, but not Tora Bora itself," said Khogyani, referring to the cave complex from where bin Laden and hundreds of other al-Qaida members escaped a massive U.S. bombing campaign in December 2001.
There has been no comment from IS or the Taliban so far.