Taliban Bust Hundreds Out of Afghan Prison

Taliban spokesman says 100 are commanders
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2011 6:12 AM CDT
Taliban Bust Hundreds Out of Afghan Prison
Afghan policemen and NATO military forces stand guard next to the main prison in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, April 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

(Newser) – Hundreds of prisoners, most of them Taliban fighters, escaped from an Afghanistan prison last night, and so far only 13 have been recaptured. Taliban militants staged the escape by digging a 1,050-foot underground tunnel into Kandahar's main prison and leading about 475 prisoners out, the AP reports. Al Jazeera puts the number of escapees at 540. The jailbreak illustrates the ongoing weakness of Afghan's government in the south; at this same prison in 2008, roughly twice as many prisoners broke out.

Security has been improved at the Sarposa Prison since that attack, but a government official says those improvements were mostly external, while internal controls remain weak. Insurgents dug the tunnel over five months while a few inmates helped organize from the inside. It took four and a half hours for all the escapees to be ushered through the tunnel, with the final inmates exiting around 3:30am; the guards' attention was never piqued. A Taliban spokesperson says about 100 of the escapees are Taliban commanders. Click to read more. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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