MPs call for trial of Kandahar security officials
KABUL (PAN): Afghan lawmakers on Tuesday called for prosecuting security officials, including prison authorities, of southern Kandahar province over a daring jailbreak that led to the escape of hundreds of prisoners.
Sixty-five of the 488 prisoners, who fled the central prison through a tunnel, were re-arrested as a result of a massive search operation, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor said earlier in the day.
Afghan and international forces mounted a hunt that led to the capture of 65 escapees, Zalmay Ayubi said, adding the detainees were being interrogated by counterterrorism police.
The prisoners -- many of them Taliban militants -- fled the heavily-fortified jail through a 360-metre-long tunnel dug by the fighters two days ago. The Taliban claimed that 541 prisoners escaped the 12,000-inmate jail.
Of those freed, 106 were insurgent commanders, a rebel spokesman said. "The mujahideen who took part in this operation hailed it as a huge success. The authorities had no idea of that we were conducting this operation," Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said.
On Tuesday, the incident drew sharp criticism from Meshrano Jirga, upper house of Parliament. One senator accused prison guards and other provincial security officials of involvement in the incident.
A public representative from western Farah province, Gul Ahmad Azimi believed such a jailbreak could not happen without the security personnel's complicity. He suggested prosecution of the authorities concerned.
Haji Niamatullah, who belongs to Kandahar, also blamed security men for conniving at the escape. "Thirty rooms of the jail usually remain locked, but they were left open on that night. What does it suggest?" he asked.
Kandahar officials should be tried for aiding the Taliban, he demanded, while stressing a comprehensive investigation. "It's a matter of shame for the provincial government, which can't take care of inmates."
Another legislator from Balkh province, Mahmood Danishjo, endorsed the call for publicly trying the officials concerned. He said the prison gave the look of a guest house.
After a lengthy debate, 1st Deputy Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar proposed a house delegation be sent to Kandahar to probe the serious security breach. The suggestion was supported by a majority of MPs.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.