Taliban Trick Frees Jailed Afghan Fighters

Prisoner release form was easy to alter
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2014 1:00 AM CST
An Afghan solider, center, stands guard outside of the main prison in Kandahar.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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(Newser) – Getting out of prison was even easier than 1-2-3 for a group of Taliban fighters in Kandahar's heavily guarded Sarposa prison, embarrassed security officials say. The numbers 1 and 2 are very similar in the Pashto language, and the prisoners escaped after an official prisoner release form was altered to say 28 prisoners were to be released instead of 18, reports the New York Times. The forger added the names of the 10 insurgents, of which only two have been recaptured, reports the BBC.

"This is humiliating," admitted a member of Kandahar's provincial council, while the Taliban claimed it had freed no fewer than 23 fighters with "cleverly managed tactics." Officials investigating the escape say it's obvious that the Taliban had plenty of help on the inside—11 prison officials left with the Taliban fighters and have not been seen since. Last month, Afghanistan freed 65 suspected militants from another prison despite strong objections from US forces. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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