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Thread: Kandahar prison attacked - hundreds of Taliban militants escape

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Default Kandahar prison attacked - hundreds of Taliban militants escape

    Hundreds of pro-Taliban militants spilled freely into the streets of Kandahar city tonight when a brazen insurgent attack blew down the walls of the prison at the heart of Canada's detainee scandal.

    A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the multi-pronged assault that saw Sarposa prison pounded with an explosives-laden tanker truck, rockets and suicide bombers.

    Canadian troops rushed across town from their base at Kandahar Airfield to secure the area around the prison, where the inmate population included insurgents captured by NATO soldiers.

    Just months ago, the Canadian government resumed transferring prisoners to Sarposa prison after suspending the transfers for several months because of documented detainee abuse there by Afghan officials.

    The devastating and co-ordinated attack was reported to have killed an unspecified number of police officers. The facility is said to be virtually empty after the attack, and international forces were searching for inmates they had captured earlier.

    "We have troops on the scene right now," Canadian military spokesman Maj. Jay Janzen told reporters at Kandahar Airfield, the main NATO base in the region.

    "We have established a security perimeter in the vicinity of the prison."

    The Taliban said 30 insurgents on motorbikes and two suicide bombers attacked the prison, used to hold both common criminals and Taliban militants.

    Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told The Associated Press that militants had been planning the assault for the last two months ``to release our Taliban friends."

    "Today we succeeded," he said. The escaped prisoners "are safe in town and they are going to their homes."

    It is a deep blow to the international coalition which has been engaged in fierce battles with insurgents in the chaotic rural areas of Kandahar province.

    While Canadian soldiers have been engaged in frequent firefights in the outlying areas, Kandahar city had been considered a relatively safe haven. It was unclear how many of the escaped prisoners had taken refuge in the city and how many had fled to surrounding areas.

    The attack raised another question for NATO: with Sarposa now in partial ruins, what will Canada and other countries do with any insurgents they capture?

    Around the time of the attack, Kandahar Airfield was abuzz with the cheers of European soldiers taking in their continent's soccer championship on giant-screen TVs around the base.

    The revelry quickly gave way to the whir of helicopters swirling overhead and tanks rumbling into the city.

    Troops from NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, are working with Afghan government forces to deal with the attack. Canada has about 2,500 troops in Afghanistan as part of ISAF.

    Janzen could not say how many insurgents were on the loose.

    However, both the Taliban and Afghan officials declared hundreds of inmates had escaped and several police officers had been killed.

    The attack began when a tanker truck full of explosives detonated at the jail's main gate, said Abdul Qabir, the prison chief. Shortly after that, a suicide bomber on foot blasted a hole in the back of the prison.

    Qabir said some prisoners stayed behind while hundreds of others escaped. However, Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai and the president of Kandahar's provincial council, said all prisoners had escaped. Neither official provided an exact figure.

    "There is no one left," Karzai said.

    Kandahar residents said loud booms rattled the city for some 30 minutes starting around 9:30 p.m. Rocket fire lasted into early Saturday.

    The tanker explosion wiped out the main gate and an outpost full of police, killing all of them, Qabir said. He couldn't say how many police officers were killed.

    Last month, some 200 Taliban suspects held at the Kandahar prison ended a weeklong hunger strike after a parliamentary delegation promised their cases would be reviewed.

    Legislator Habibullah Jan said some of the hunger strikers had been held without trial for more than two years. Others were given lengthy prison sentences after short trials.

    Jan said 47 of the prisoners had stitched their mouths shut during the hunger strike in May.
    Toronto Star
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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    Elite Member Rica's Avatar
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    uh oh....

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Over 1000 inmates escaped

    Canadian troops continued their assessment today after a stunning multi-pronged attack with rockets, suicide bombers, and an explosives-filled truck blew open the Kandahar prison where NATO detainees are held.

    Canadian troops rushed across town from their base at Kandahar Airfield on Friday night to secure the area around the prison.

    Afghanistan's minister of the interior told a news conference today that the facility held a total of 1,005 inmates, including 398 Taliban prisoners.

    Munir Mungle said while six people, believed to be escapees have been detained, the majority of the jailed Taliban were on the loose. Many escaped capture by hiding in fruit orchards near the prison.

    The complex attack included a truck bombing at the main gate, a suicide bomber who struck a back wall and rockets fired from inside the prison courtyard, setting off a series of explosions that rattled Kandahar, the country's second biggest city.

    The rockets demolished an upper prison floor, Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai, a deputy minister at the Justice Ministry, told The Associated Press. The estimated number of police killed in the attack ranged from six to nine.

    There were no indications that the militants received help from the inside, but as a precaution the prison's chief official, Abdul Qabir, was placed under investigation for possible involvement, Hashimzai said.

    Back at the Kandahar military compound, the regular bazaar today where local merchants set up shop in an area half the size of a football field, was cancelled.

    A Canadian soldier muttered that the brazen assault on Sarposa would be a monumental public-relations coup for the Taliban. He said it's not only families of the escaped insurgents who will be grateful, but also of the common criminals who fled to freedom.

    "This is a big win for them," he said,

    Just months ago, the Canadian government resumed prisoner transfers after suspending them because of documented detainee abuse by Afghan officials.

    Inmates at Sarposa described having been whipped, choked and electrocuted in separate detention facilities run by Afghanistan's feared intelligence police.

    NATO's International Security Assistance Force estimates the number of escapees at 1,100, said spokesman Brig. Gen. Carlos Branco, who conceded that the assault was a success.

    "We admit it," Branco said. "Their guys did the job properly in that sense, but it does not have a strategic impact. We should not draw any conclusion about the deterioration of the military operations in the area."

    More than 30 nearby shops were damaged in the attack, which left a huge crater outside the prison, with piles of rubble, shoes and barbed wire strewn about. Several police cars were left charred and mangled wrecks.

    Mohammad Aiwaiz, who lives near the prison, told a Canadian TV news pool that he heard a huge blast around 9:30 p.m. Friday night and saw flames emanating from the building, followed by gunshots.

    Aiwaiz said he was very worried and told his family not to leave the house, saying he believed the attack showed the Taliban can take control of Kandahar city whenever they like.

    The Taliban said 30 insurgents on motorbikes and two suicide bombers attacked the prison.

    Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told The Associated Press that militants had been planning the assault for the last two months ``to release our Taliban friends."

    "Today we succeeded," he said. The escaped prisoners "are safe in town and they are going to their homes."

    Branco said NATO officials don't think the addition of the 400 escaped Taliban fighters will tilt the military balance.

    Still, it was a deep blow to the international coalition which has been engaged in fierce battles with insurgents in the chaotic rural areas of Kandahar province.

    While the outlying areas have been home to frequent firefights, Kandahar city had been considered a relative haven.
    Toronto Star
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Thanks George!

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    thats fuckin' frightening!

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