Tuesday Telegraph 26th April 2011: Sydney Australia.
KABUL: Nearly 500 Taliban prisoners dug a 360m Tunnel and escaped from Kandahar prison in southern Afghanistan, according to officials.
The Taliban said it was behind the huge jail break and that all of those who had escaped were members of the militant Islamist organisation.
A tunnel hundreds of metres long was dug from the south of the prison into the prison and 476 political prisoners escaped last night, prison director-general Ghulam Dastageer Mayar said.
The acting police chief of Kandahar, Shair Shah Yousufzai, confirmed the escape.
Last night some political prisoners broke out of the prison and escaped, he said.
Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahamdi said militants were responsible for the breakout.
Prisoners dug a 360-metre-long tunnel to the south of the prison. They started getting out of the prison at 11pm last night and by early morning today, 541 prisoners escaped the prison, he said.
They all have made it [safely] to our centres and there was no fighting.
Ahmadi said 106 escapees were Taliban commanders and the rest were soldiers.
The Taliban are known to exaggerate claims of their successes in relation to incidents during the insurgency.
The jail break was the second major escape from Kandahar prison in three years.
In 2008, about 1000 prisoners including Taliban militants escaped after the Taliban used a truck bomb to blow open the gates. It was also the scene of a mass hunger strike by inmates the same year.
Kandahar is seen as the birthplace of the Taliban movement and the city and surrounding area has endured some of the worst fighting of the long war.