ISIS Has Tunnels Everywhere. Makes Them Much Harder To Defeat

Apr 17, 2017 15:23 IST

ISIS Has Tunnels Everywhere. Makes Them Much Harder To Defeat
Thursday, the United States dropped the "mother of all bombs" on a network of Islamic State caves and tunnels in Afghanistan. The military argued that its spectacular use of force was necessary to destroy the underground terror hideout. (Though it's not clear that the MOAB was the right tool to accomplish that goal.)

Tunnels are not just the purview of the Islamic State's small Afghanistan force. Like other guerrilla groups, the Islamic State has create tunnel systems underneath many of the cities and villages that they occupy. These pathways are essential to their strategy, enabling them to move stealthily, strike quickly, and then escape capture.

It's hard to know how many tunnels exist, or where. But anecdotal reports suggest that the network is extensive. After Mosul was liberated in 2015, for example, Iraqi troops and the Kurdish peshmerga found that the road into the city had been honeycombed with tunnels, many booby-trapped. Mosul, too, had an extensive under-layer of pathways. As an Iraqi intelligence officer told my colleague last year, "they're everywhere." The same was true underneath Fallujah.  

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