RTT NEWS -While NATO-led International Security Assistance Force conducted dozens of operations to arrest suspected Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan over recent months, the latter was busy digging a 320-meter-long tunnel from outside a prison in the region to facilitate an escape route for their fellow cadres.
476 inmates of the Sariposa prison in Kandahar escaped on Sunday night through the tunnel that was dug from the south of the prison over five months.
ISAF spokesman Brigadier-General Josef Blotz told reporters that “It’s definitely a setback for us and our operations in Afghanistan.”
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousif Ahmadi said that all those who broke the jail, which includes at least 100 Taliban commanders, have reached safe camps.
He added that during the four and half hours- long overnight operation, Taliban suicide bombers were prepared to storm the prison compound in case security guards noticed it.
In June 2008, more than 8,00 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 incident is also a setback for the Afghan National Security Forces, which is set to take over complete military control of the country from NATO forces by 2014.
The Obama administration announced plans to begin a “responsible, conditions-based” withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in July this year.