540 Taliban Officers and Commanders Escape Kandahar Prison
So this is not as bad as when 1500 escaped previously but it makes you wonder if their is collusion or payola or blackmail. Or just WTF.
Afghan government officials have confirmed to Al Jazeera that some 540 Taliban officers and commanders have escaped from Kandahar prison via a 350 metre-long tunnel.
Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said that a Taliban official also confirmed the escape, boasting that the prison break had been "very well-planned" and that it was five months in the making.
The prison in Kandahar typically holds drug dealers as well as Taliban commanders captured by NATO forces, our correspondent said.
If the officials have the correct number for those who have escaped - 540 Taliban commanders and senior officers on the run - then this break will constitute a "big success" for the Taliban.
It is also sure to "have a dramatic effect on the fight against the Taliban in the region," said Azimy.
There have been previous escapes from this prison.
In June 2008, Taliban fighters attacked the main prison in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, blasting through its entrance and engaging in a gun battle with police.
Nearly all of the estimated 1,150 prisoners, including some 400 Taliban, escaped, according to Afghan officials.
Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Afghanistan, quoted a Taliban spokesperson as saying that two suicide bombers blew themselves up near the entrance of the gate to the prison before 30 Taliban fighters attacked and killed 16 policemen.
"The Taliban spokeperson said they had freed 400 Taliban fighters and there were around 1,300 prisoners in the jail, including common criminals," he said.
"It was a co-ordinated attack and they [Taliban fighters] got assistance from the guards within the jail."
Kandahar prison was the scene of a mass hunger strike by hundreds of inmates in May, 2008 during which 47 of the prisoners sewed their lips shut after complaining they had been tortured and denied fair trials.
Prisoners, including al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, rioted at the country's main Pul-e-Charki jail in Kabul in February 2006, taking control of a block and leaving several people injured.