Kabul: In a major raid the Taliban militants have stormed a jail outside the Afghan city of Ghazni on Monday, killing at least four police men and freeing more than 350 prisoners.
The deputy provincial governor of Ghazni province Mohammad Ali Ahmadi said one militant blew himself up at the prison gates, allowing others to force open jail cells.
The attackers were well-organised and wearing uniforms, he said.
The Taliban confirmed it had carried out the early morning attack. Both Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid and the deputy governor confirmed that three of the attackers were killed.
The deputy governor said seven police officers were also injured. He said only 80 prisoners were left inside the prison.
It was not immediately clear who the prisoners who escaped were, nor where they had gone.
Mr Ahmadi said he did not reject the possibility the attackers had had help from inside the jail. He added that most of the prisoners were Taliban, with some petty criminals and drug addicts.
Monday’s prison break has happened at a sensitive time for the government, which will complete its first year in office in a week’s time, amid questions over its ability to improve security and the economy.
The Taliban will use the attack as a way to boost morale for its fighters, who are divided over succession to founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Afghan jail breaks
- June 2008: More than 900 prisoners escape from Sarposa prison in Kandahar after a suicide bomber blasted open the gates.
- July 2010: Nineteen prisoners escape after a blast at a prison in Farah province.
- November 2009: Twelve prisoners escape after tunnelling out of a jail from their cells in Farah.
- April 2011: More than 470 inmates escape from a Kandahar jail through through a 360m (1,180ft) tunnel dug from outside.