Via Fox News:
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents dug a more than 1,050-foot (320-meter) tunnel underground and into the main jail in Kandahar city and whisked out more than 450 prisoners, most of whom were Taliban fighters, officials and the insurgents said Monday.
The massive jailbreak overnight in Afghanistan’s second-largest city serves as a reminder of the Afghan government’s continuing weakness in the south, despite an influx of international troops, funding and advisers. Kandahar city, in particular, has been a focus of the international effort to establish a strong Afghan government presence in former Taliban strongholds.
The 1,200-inmate Sarposa Prison has been part of that plan. The facility has undergone security upgrades and tightened procedures following a brazen 2008 Taliban attack that freed 900 prisoners. Afghan government officials and their NATO backers have regularly said that the prison has vastly improved security since that attack.
But on Sunday night, around 475 prisoners streamed out of a tunnel dug between the prison and the outside and disappeared into Kandahar city, prison supervisor Ghulam Dastagir Mayar said. He said the majority of the missing were Taliban militants.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said insurgents on the outside dug the 1,050-foot (320-meter) tunnel to the prison over five months, bypassing government checkpoints and major roads. The tunnel finally reached the prison cells Sunday night, and the inmates were ushered through it to freedom by three prisoners who had been informed of the plan, Mujahid said.
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