Sunday, April 15, 2012

Taliban Jailbreak

Several hundred prisoners were sprung from prison by the Taliban today. The jailbreak occurred early in the morning, in the city of Bannu in northwest Pakistan. Some of the escaped prisoners are thought to be comrades-in-arms of the Taliban who set them free, but all of them were on death row at the time of their escape.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this BBC news video:

Below are excerpts from a report on the same incident in The Daily Mail:

Taliban fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenades stormed a prison in north west Pakistan and freed 400 prisoners, it emerged today.

The raid by more than 100 fighters was a dramatic display of the strength of the insurgency gripping the nuclear-armed country.

Police said at least 20 of the inmates set loose were ‘very dangerous’.

Authorities fear the escaped prisoners may now rejoin the fight, giving momentum and a propaganda boost to a movement that has killed thousands of Pakistani officials and ordinary citizens since 2007.

The attackers battled their way into the prison before dawn in the city of Bannu close to the Afghan border and near Peshawar.

Bannu prison superintendent Zahid Khan said they used explosives and hand grenades to knock down the main gates and two walls.

‘They were carrying modern and heavy weapons,’ said Mr Khan. ‘They fired rockets.’

Once inside the building, the attackers headed straight to the area of the prison where death-row prisoners were being kept, he said.

Police officer Shafique Khan said they fought with guards for around two hours, setting part of the prison on fire before freeing the 380 inmates, including at least 20 ‘very dangerous Taliban militants’.

One escaped prisoner, Adnan Rashid, was on death row for his involvement in an assassination attempt against former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, said Zahid Khan.

The prison in Bannu housed 944 inmates.

A Taliban spokesman, Asimullah Mehsud, claimed the movement’s fighters freed 1,200 of their comrades. The group is known to make exaggerated claims.

Hat tip for the article: Nick.