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Ear to the Ground

Taliban-Led Raid Frees 1,200 in Afghan Prison Break

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Posted on Jun 14, 2008
Kandahar prison
AP photo / Allauddin Khan

A shattered vehicle lies at the gate of Sarposa Prison on Saturday, a day after Taliban militants struck in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

A nighttime raid on Kandahar’s Sarposa Prison, carried out by Taliban operatives Friday, led to the escape of 1,200 prisoners, including around 400 Taliban members. The attack represented a serious security challenge in the Afghan city that’s considered the traditional home of the country’s leaders and the Taliban’s spiritual center.


The New York Times:

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said that the attack was carried out by 30 insurgents on motorbikes and two suicide bombers, and that they had freed about 400 Taliban members, The Associated Press reported.

The breakout from Sarposa Prison will present enormous security challenges for Afghan and NATO forces surrounding Kandahar, President Karzai’s home city but also the spiritual capital of the Taliban. Traditionally, Kandahar is home to the rulers of Afghanistan, and control of it is seen as critical to the government’s hold on the entire country.

The city has been in a precarious situation since Taliban forces massed in the nearby district of Panjwai in 2006. Since then Canadian forces have struggled to secure the area, and the Taliban have repeatedly sought to gain a foothold in the districts surrounding the town.

The prison break is also likely to increase pressure on President Karzai, who is coming under increasing criticism at home and abroad for his faltering leadership and his inability to manage the country. Even as international donors pledged $21 billion in aid for Afghanistan this week, many of them have criticized his failure to tackle the problems of security and corruption.

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By ocjim, June 19, 2008 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Incompetence, arrogance, and politics is such an endemic part of BushCo, one has to posit that the same in Afghanistan. After all, it was abandoned for the neocon target of Iraq. The resources weren’t even there to guard Taliban prisoners. That too will cost British and American lives. The latter is not important for the Bush crime family.

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By Marshall, June 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

It’s amusing to see those who certainly vehemently opposed the Taliban when it was in power - demolishing Buddhist statuary in Afghanistan - now supporting the Taliban simply because the U.S. opposes them.  Now the very males and females that fought us on the battlefield, strapped on suicide vests, or gave succor to those who did, have suddenly morphed into hapless innocents and victims, caught in the crossfire.

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By lodipete, June 15, 2008 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

....and now Karzai has threatened to send “his troops” accross the border into Pakistan in hot pursuit.

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By nefertiti, June 15, 2008 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

A reporter from AL Jazeera said the talibans managed to bring about 40 cars at night to make the escape , and the searches only started the next day in the morning . that must have been an embarrassment to many (US ,Afghans, Nato ...)

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By nefertiti, June 15, 2008 at 2:11 am Link to this comment

I saw a documentary last year on AL jazeera about a Doctor from Mazar sharif who was SOLD to the Americans as a taliban , spent 3 horrifying years (according to him) in Gitmo and when he was released , he could not find his wife and child , his surgery looted and stripped from everything windows , doors, taps and wiring , some scatters living in it . He looked depressed and totally lost and was still trying to find out what happened to his family. it was really sad . (Many of them were sold for profits or sold to the Americans by their enemies or someone who had a grudge against them. there is a movie about this soon , announced on CNN this week )

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By cyrena, June 14, 2008 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

Sounds like a whole bunch of these ‘prisoners’ were just like the majority of the Gitmo prisoners. Guilty of NOTHING other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And how do they have 80 females locked up in an Afghanistan prison anyway?

Are they ‘terrorists’ too? I KNOW they aren’t Taliban.

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By nefertiti, June 14, 2008 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Ooops .

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