A massive explosion tore through the side of a prison in the Sari Pul Provincial capital in northern Afghanistan today, creating a hole through which a number of detainees escaped. Officials say it isn’t clear if the explosion came from inside or outside the prison wall.
The guards killed three inmates and wounded 28 others when the escape began, and a 10 minute gunbattle was reported outside the prison. They eventually captured a number of the escapees. Fourteen people remain at large, including a number of top Taliban leaders who were being held in the prison.
The Taliban claimed credit for the break, claiming 170 actually escaped, and saying that the commanders who were freed in the attack have been taken to “safer places” in other parts of the country.
The break isn’t as big as some of those in the past, but shows that the Taliban remains more than capable of securing the release of their captive commanders by force when they need to. Security forces are still expressing hope that they’ll eventually find the 14 at large detainees.