Taliban Dug a Tunnel to Help 500 Prisoners Escape From Afghanistan Jail

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The entrance of the tunnel in room number seven of the Political Prisoner's section through which Taliban fighters escaped in an audacious jailbreak is pictured in Kandahar prison in southern Kandahar city on April 25, 2011. Almost 500 Taliban fighters and commanders escaped from a prison in an audacious jailbreak which the government admitted was a security "disaster". The Taliban said it sprung the inmates out of the prison in Kandahar through a one-kilometre tunnel that took five months to dig, and claimed all those who escaped belonged to the militia, including over 100 commanders. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: STR/2011 AFP

Between 476 and 541 prisoners escaped from the political wing of a jail in Kandahar, the southern Afghan city at the center of the war with U.S. forces. Taliban guerrillas dug the tunnel, which reports say may have extended from 360 to 1,000 meters, under the Kabul-Kandahar highway, to the main prison. The escaped detainees include both high-ranking and mid-level Taliban officials. The operation to free the jihadists lasted from the middle of the night until early morning, marking the second major break at the largest prison in southern Afghanistan. (In 2008, Taliban forces freed 1,200 prisoners in an attack that killed fifteen guards.) Wesa Toorylai, the governor of Kandahar, issued harsh criticism toward prison operators:

“This is absolutely the fault of the ignorance of the security forces,” Mr. Toorylai said. “This was not the work of a day, a week or a month of activities, this was actually months of work they spent to dig and free their men.”

Forget it, Wesa. It's Afghanistan.

Taliban Helps 500 Prisoners Break Out of Afghanistan Jail [Bloomberg]
Taliban Help Hundreds Tunnel Out of Prison’s Political Wing [NYT]