Taliban’s Tunnel Story Suggests Jailbreak Was Well Planned
A Taliban member tells details of the Kandahar jailbreak in which nearly 500 so-called political prisoners escaped through a tunnel.
A Taliban member who claims to be the second of about 500 ‘political’ prisoners who successfully broke Sarpoza prison in Kandahar, Taliban’s birthplace in Afghanistan, on April 25, says the jailbreak was well planned and thoroughly organized.
Aged 23 and identified as Muhammad Idrees, this prisoner claims that the so-called political block of the prison had one main door which was always locked while the doors of the rooms within the block were usually left open by the guards.
According to his detailed story (in Pashto language) on Taliban’s official website, on the night of the great escape the prisoners of his room had invited a number of trusted prisoners from other rooms for dinner after which they were told about the escape plans.
He told the website that when everybody was ready, they removed the beds from the floor and their comrades in the tunnel dug up into the room making their way to the block. ‘When the mouth of the tunnel was wide enough to take us out, our comrades from outside gave us some weapons, knives, and a box in which I saw a telephone line and a camera,’ he added.
The plan, he said, was that if any political prisoner refuses to go out, or if the government informants start resisting, the prisoners would use the weapons and knives to finish them. ‘A pipe was installed through the tunnel and a machine pumped air for oxygen, and there were lights everywhere in the tunnel. It took 15 minutes to reach at the other end of the tunnel,’ Idrees said.
According to this escapee, once at the outside end of the tunnel, the prisoners were met by their armed comrades who searched them for weapons and money, took all money except 3000 Afghanis, and took them to waiting cars. Prisoners who did not have any money were given 3000 Afghanis from the collected money, he said.
Thus, close to 4 AM, all the political prisoners were released without any resistance and trouble.
Though Afghan officials have already disputed this claim and officers do not rule out the possibility of ‘inside hands’ in the jailbreak, it is widely accepted that the government was shamefully incompetent and careless in providing adequate security to the prison. There should have been, analysts say, extraordinary security measures as the Sarpoza prison was also attacked two years ago, in June 2008, and nearly a thousand prisoners were released among whom nearly 400 were Taliban insurgents.
The number of Taliban insurgents who escaped the prison in Kandahar is enough to further destabilize the troubled south of the country as the summer fighting season has already started and more intense fighting is expected.
Of course it is not the first incident that brought shame on President Karzai’s totally corrupt and incompetent regime. And it is for sure that if the situation goes on as it is, there will be more disturbing news coming out of Afghanistan.