How bin Laden outsmarted Bush in caves of Tora Bora
As the Taliban regime fell, terrorist leaders were able to escape from their mountain bolthole. Philip Smucker, one of a handful of Western journalists to talk to al-Qa'ida fighters face to face, examines the greatest miscalculation by the US in Afghanistan.
BY far the greatest miscalculation of the war on terrorism came in November last year when US officials became aware that al-Qa'ida's leadership, including bin Laden, were holed up in the White Mountain redoubt of Tora Bora.
It is difficult to say precisely when the US military became convinced that bin Laden was inside the complex of caves, bunkers and tunnels. On November 22, nearly two weeks before the US and its proxy Afghan allies finally launched a ground offensive, Jalalabad residents recounted bin Laden's flight from the city in a large convoy to the White Mountains.