Taliban Raid Frees Thousand Prisoners
The Taliban have freed “as many as 1,000” prisoners being held by the Afghan government in Kandahar.
Hundreds of prisoners escaped from a jail in southern Afghanistan on Friday after Taliban fighters blew off the gates in a suicide attack that killed several police officers, according to a U.S. military official. Many of those freed were apparently Taliban suspects.
The attack occurred in the evening in the southern city of Kandahar, a longtime stronghold of the Taliban insurgency, when attackers drove an explosives-laden vehicle toward the city jail, according to a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Prisoners breached the walls of the prison when a barrage of rocket and gunfire followed the initial attack.
A prison official at the scene said the bloody skirmish at the jail had left it nearly empty. Soldiers with NATO forces in the region were working with members of the Afghan national police to cordon off the area.
The prison is under the control of Afghan police, who are badly trained and underpaid, and the Interior Ministry, which is notoriously corrupt. The prison assault is another blow to the performance of the police force, which had lagged far behind the Afghan army in international aid and training despite playing a major role in security, especially in rural areas.