USA Today: Battle for Mosul goes underground: Column
ISIL has had two years to dig intricate tunnels
The fight against the Islamic State terror group is heading underground. As Iraqi forces, with U.S. support, close in on Mosul, the toughest fighting likely will not be in the streets or door-to-door, but in sophisticated miles-long tunnel networks ISIL has constructed under the city. Fighting in this subterranean domain presents unique tactical, operational, technological and even legal challenges, for which the U.S. military must be better prepared. This is far from the first time tunnels have been used by asymmetric and conventional adversaries, and it is unlikely to be the last.
Tunnel warfare was a crucial part of the Vietnam War, with North Vietnamese forces burrowing underground to transport supplies and launch surprise attacks. Since then, tunneling has become more high tech. The tactics and tools to counter a subterranean foe must also evolve from the “tunnel rats” employed by the U.S. military in Vietnam.
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WNU Editor: This battle underground explains why the Iraqi Army now wants thermobaric weapons .... Battle for Mosul: Iraq asks for UK help to get thermobaric weapons (The Guardian).