Afghan and foreign troops have launched a massive manhunt to recapture
hundreds of prisoners, including suspected Taliban militants, who
escaped a central prison in southern Afghanistan after a raid by
Taliban insurgents on Friday night. Authorities say an investigation
into the incident is underway and some prison officials are also being
questioned to see if they had played any role. In another development,
U.S military officials say that a roadside bomb explosion left four
soldiers from the US-led coaltion dead in western Afghanistan. From
neighboring Pakistan, Ayaz Gul reports.
A Taliban spokesman
told reporters by telephone from an undisclosed location that 30
insurgents and two suicide bombers took part in the Friday night attack
on the prison in the southern city of Kandahar.
commando-style assault began with a fuel tanker loaded with explosives
hitting the main gate while another suicide bomber blew up the back
wall of the facility. The powerful explosions are said to have
instantly killed at least 15 security guards and wounded many others.
Deputy Justice Minister Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai says that heavily
armed Taliban militants then stormed the compound and helped prisoners
"Now when this happened, and of course there were some
casualties in the beginning and of course when the ISAF forces and the
government forces were informed about that, they blocked the roads
leading to the prison, and outside of it, and other main roads
searching the vehicles to see if they can re-capture those who managed
to escape," he said.
Afghan officials say that there were nearly
1,200 prisoners, including up to 400 suspected Taliban militants, before
the attack, and most of them are said to have been freed by the
The jailbreak is being described as a major security
breach and has increased security concerns for both the government and
foreign forces particularly in southern Afghanistan, where Taliban
militants have carried out most of their subversive activities in the
past two years.
Under a program agreed to last year to transfer
all local prisoners from U.S detention, the U.S. military has handed
over an unspecified number of suspected Taliban fighters to Afghan
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S military
vehicle on Saturday killing four American soldiers. A U.S military
spokesman says the attack happened in western Farah province and
targeted American personnel helping train Afghanistan's police force.
violence and jailbreak came a day after international donors at a
conference in Paris pledged more than $20 billion for Afghanistan.