Monday, April 25, 2011

Kandahar prisoners freed by Taliban insurgents -- nearly 500 of them, in daring break out

Taliban militants tunnelled more than 480 inmates out the main prison in southern Afghanistan overnight, whisking them through a 320-metre-long underground passage they had dug over months, officials and insurgents said Monday.

Saraposa prison officials in the city of Kandahar only discovered the breach about 4 a.m. local time, about a half-hour after the Taliban said they had gotten all the prisoners out.

The militants began digging the tunnel about five months ago from a house within shooting distance of the prison guard towers. It was not immediately clear whether they lived in the house while they dug.

They meticulously plotted the tunnel's course around police checkpoints and major roads, the insurgent group said in a brazen statement.

The diggers finally broke through to the prison cells around 11 p.m. Sunday night, and a handful of inmates who knew of the plan unlocked cells and ushered hundreds of inmates to freedom without a shot being fired. (read more)