Taliban Break 870 Prisoners Out of Afghan Prison
On June 13, 2008, the Taliban staged a prison break in Kandahar, Afghanistan, releasing 870 of Sarposa Prison’s 1,000 prisoners, 390 of whom were members of the Taliban. The escape started with a cell phone call from a Taliban prisoner to his local Taliban subcommander complaining of poor conditions in the prison in which up to 20 men were crammed into one tiny cell. A week later, the subcommander celled back and promised that the prisoners would soon be freed. Within a few weeks, they began an attack on the prison using a suicide tanker truck bomber to destroy the front gate while a second suicide bomber blew a hole in the prison’s back wall. Dozens of motorcycle-riding Taliban fighters followed up with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles, storming the prison, suppressing the guards and freeing the prisoners. Seven guards and several prisoners died in the assault.
The Taliban allegedly had minibuses waiting outside the prison to transport some of the prisoners. Within a week, NATO and Afghan forces recaptured 20 prisoners and killed 15 insurgents while searching for escaped prisoners. The Afghan government fired Kandahar police chief General Sayed Aqa Saqeb ten days after the escape. He was accused of neglecting his duties. Reportedly, several other officials will also be fired. The chiefs of criminal investigations and the intelligence agency were suspended pending investigation by the attorney general’s office.
Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai, an Afghan Justice Ministry deputy minister, admitted that the prison did not meet international standards for prisons. He blamed the substandard conditions on it not being purpose-built as a prison, but rather modified into one.
Sources: www.thestar.com, Associated Press, Reuters
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