And now: jihad tourism. From The Daily Telegraph via the Indian Express, with thanks to Kemaste:
KABUL, DECEMBER 4: The Afghan authorities plan to invigorate the country”s fledgling tourist industry by developing Osama bin Laden’s Tora Bora mountain hideout as a visitor attraction. Dr Hassamuddin Hamrah, the man in charge, believes that the caves which once housed Bin Laden and his fighters, together with the remains of mangled Russian tanks and crashed helicopter gunships from 1980s, will prove a tourist magnet.
But he said the plan was being undermined by scrap metal merchants from across the border in Pakistan who were taking the wrecked military hardware. “˜”˜We wished to keep the artillery, tanks, aircraft and also the military posts and front lines. But the Pakistanis have frustrated our plans,– Dr Hamrah said. “˜”˜They were coming and buying the metal scraps so a lot of people took these to Pakistan.”
It is a popular saying in Logar province, south of Kabul, that the Russian artillery shells were not cold before the high quality steel was being sold across the border to the scrap dealers. “˜”˜We have plans to make a tourist site at the Tora Bora caves. Many Americans wish to go there,– Dr Hamrah said. “˜”˜Our main problem is lack of budget so we are approaching the private sector.–
He added that three Japanese tour company bosses had already visited the site, high in the White Mountains near Jalalabad. The extraordinary complex of caves and bunkers was created during the 1980s as a mountain fastness by the Mujahideen, and expanded at Bin Laden’s expense in the 1990s. It is reported to include barracks, lavish living quarters and tunnel systems large enough to hide armoured vehicles.