Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tom Coghlan and Colin Freeman, "How Taliban Sprang 450 Terrorists From Kandahar's Sarposa Prison In Afghanistan," Sunday Telegraph, June 15, 2008.

Taliban-driven getaway minibuses were waiting nearby with engines running.

With the latest outrage, the insurgency has shown that its ability to stage 'spectaculars' is undiminished by setbacks in the field.

Overlooking the dusty road into one of Afghanistan's most lawless cities, the newly-painted guard towers of ­Kandahar's Sarposa prison are supposed to be a reminder to local people of how justice has finally come to town.

In recent years, coalition ­officials have spent millions turning the 60-year-old building into a showcase facility for Afghanistan's new government, issuing guards with crisp new uniforms and giving them lessons on how to treat their charges humanely.

Rather less attention, however, seems to have been spent on the jail's most basic function – security.

Yesterday, Sarposa's entire population of 1,100 inmates – including murderers, bandits and about 450 hardened Islamic militants – was enjoying freedom after an audacious Taliban attack engineered one of the biggest mass jail breaks in history.

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