Monday, April 25, 2011
Huge Prison Escape Kandahar
* The scene outside Kandahar prison after a previous escape in 2008.
Hundreds of Taliban prisoners escaped from Kandahar's Sarposa prison in a daring escape Sunday night. The escape from an Afghan run prison has exposed glaring security gaps and led to a huge hunt for the fugitives. Kandahar is considered the spritual home of the Taliban leadership.
All armed forces increasing.
The Bookings Afghanistan index notes that from 2004 – 2009 ‘Taliban’ forces multiplied roughly tenfold from (1,770-3,200) to 30,000. Afghan government forces tripled, and US forces have grown to 100,000. Increasing the levels for Afghans on all fronts.
Speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, Gulam Dastageer Mayar, the director of prisons in Kandahar, says police are investigating the jailbreak.
"Most of the 467 prisoners who escaped were political prisoners," he says. "They had dug into [the prison] from some village, but it's not entirely clear how they did it. The police are investigating. At least eight of the escaped prisoners were rearrested this morning."
Sarposa prison, rebuilt after a 2008 jailbreak, is supposed to be one of Afghanistan's most secure. In June 2008, more than 800 prisoners, including Taliban insurgents, had escaped from the same prison after a suicide bomber blew up the facility's gates and destroyed a nearby army check-post.
The Prison sits on the outskirts of Kandahar city and holds both captured insurgents and criminal prisoners from across southern Afghanistan, where thousands of American troops have spearheaded the campaign against rural Taliban strongholds.
The Taliban, in its own statement, said 541 prisoners escaped through an extensive tunnel that took months to construct and were later moved in vehicles to safer locations.
The statement said that "mujahedin started digging a 320-meter tunnel to the prison from the south side, which was completed after a five-month period, bypassing enemy checkpoints and [the] Kandahar-Kabul main highway leading directly to the political prison."
The Taliban said the tunnel was completed late on April 24, with hundreds of insurgents escaping over a 4 1/2-hour period.
Kandahar: Quick Facts
Founded by Alexander the Great 2,500 years ago
Second largest city in Afghanistan with a population of 300,000
Central trading city in the country with an international airport
Manufactures wool, felt, silk
Crops: Opium, grapes, grain and tobacco