Prison break a major victory for Taliban
By Hassan Isilow
AFGANSTAN- Monday’s dramatic prison break executed by Taliban insurgents at Sarposa prison in Kandahar has been described by political analysts as a great humiliation to President Hamid Karzai’s regime.
According to Rahim Lah Yusuf Zahi, a political analyst in Afghanistan, the prison break was an indication that the Taliban could be having sympathisers working within Karazai’s own government.
“Kandahar is a stronghold for the Taliban and surely, they could have some supporters or sympathisers working with the government security agencies who could have helped them escape,” he told Africawitness in an exclusive telephone interview on Monday.
Over 450 inmates escaped from the Sarposa prison hours earlier, using a lengthy tunnel that had been dug by Taliban insurgents who had rented a mud house a quarter a mile from the prison.
“It took several hours for the nearly 500 prisoners to flee. The Taliban are reported to have started the escape mission on Sunday night, ending it early on Monday morning. Those inmates who were asleep where woken up as cars waited for them outside the tunnel.” Rahim said.
The analyst said this was the second major prison break to take place in Afghanistan in the last three years.
“They will definitely regroup and join the Taliban’s fight against the Karzai regime, as well as the foreign forces,” he speculated, adding that the incident is likely to boost their resolve.
When asked if the prison break might casue a delay in the departure of Nato forces, the analyst said: “The Karzai government is too fragile to deal with Taliban, while Nato forces are not a solution to the Afghan problem.” This implied that the Afghan problem requires serious dialogue, rather than using more military force.
Canadian troops are reported to have been stationed at the Saraposa prison in the past, while US troops had been building living quarters and judicial offices at the prison for the past four months, even as the tunnel took shape beneath them.
Afghan authorities and foreign troops launched a manhunt for the escapees, but had only captured 65 as of late Tuesday, according to Tooryalai Wesa, the governor of Kandahar province.
The Taliban, consider the escape a major victory and have claimed that 541 inmates fled through the tunnel and were later driven to safe houses. The Taliban are expected to name some of their prominent commanders who escaped out of the Saroposa prisons.