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Foreign spy agencies involved in Kandahar jailbreak

Foreign spy agencies involved in Kandahar jailbreak

May 01, 2011 - 20:29

KABULinfo-icon(PANinfo-icon): Senior officials on Sunday said that foreign spy agencies were involved in the Kandahar jailbreak which they said was a result of negligence on the part of jail officials.

The revelation from the justice minister, Habibullah Ghalib and deputy head of the National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon), Abdul Qayum Katawazai, and prisons' chief, Brig. Gen. Amir Mohammad Jamshid, came a day after eight inmates escaped from the Kahsan district prison in western Herat province.

The Kandahar central prison chief was among eight officials arrested on the charge of complicity in last month's massive jailbreak that saw hundreds of inmates escaped through a tunnel.

More than 450 prisoners, including insurgent commanders, managed to flee through the 560-metre tunnel on April 25.

The fighters dug the underground passage from a house in the Sarpuza neighbourhood of the provincial capital to a cell of political prisoners.

Prison chief Ghulam Dastagir Mayar has been arrested along with seven of his subordinates on the charge of conniving at the escape, a police official has confided to Pajhwok Afghan News.

The justice minister, Habibullah Ghalib, who along with Katawzai and Jamshid, was summoned by the interior security commission of the parliament, told the panel that foreign spy agencies were involved in the jailbreak. He said the incident happened due to negligence on the part of jail officials. However, he did not name any spy agency.

He said that 15 jail officials, including the jail commander, had been arrested on the charge of conniving at the escape. The detainees were being questioned, he added.

The minister said the escapees included Talibaninfo-icon fighters, their commanders and criminals.

Wagma Sapi, a representative from eastern Kunar province, criticised the minister for not shifting high profile prisoners to jails in other secure parts of the country.

But Ghalib said the Kandahar jail was the third heavily fortified facility after Kabul and Herat. However, he said the country's intelligence service did not provide them prior information about the jailbreak.

The NDS deputy chief, Abdul Qayum Katawazai, insisted they had provided prior information to the justice ministry about a possible suicide attack or bomb explosion in the jail.

"We have evidence that we have informed the ministry," he said. He said if they had prior information about the tunnel, they would thwart the jailbreak. He also said foreign intelligence agencies were involved in the incident. But he also did not name any country.

The prisons chief, Amir Mohammad Jamshid, said they had a sent a delegation to investigate the incident.


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