Taliban insurgents daringly stormed a jail in Afghanistan killing several guards and freeing over 350 prisoners in a special forces-like raid. While ISIS continues to gain more ground in Northern Iraq and Al Qaeda makes base of a whole province in Syria, Afghanistan’s Taliban is growing more relentless in their own pursuit of terror, raising fresh questions about just who is winning the global war on terror.
The militants stormed the jail, located in central Afghanistan on Monday night, raining terror and gunfire upon the guards. The jail is just three miles away from Ghazni city and approximately 72 miles from the country’s capital Kabul.
According to reports from Ghazni province governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, the prison gates were rendered susceptible when one Taliban insurgent blew himself up in front of them, allowing the rest to enter.
The terrorists then proceeded to move into the cells, freeing the prisoners including local Taliban commanders. Four policemen were killed in the raid. Authorities indicate four of the attackers were killed in the assault.
Reports indicate more than 350 prisoners escaped. Of those, 148 were jailed for attacking security forces while 207 were convicts jailed for other crimes. Only 80 prisoners were left in the cells.
Reports indicate that the prisoners were unable to identify the insurgents as members of the Taliban as they were dressed in uniform. Authorities are not ruling out the possibility of an inside job.
The massive overnight break will offer the Taliban terror network a much needed boost in morale after their founding leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was killed. His death has resulted in a leadership battle that has threatened to break apart the group. The prison escape will also complicate the Afghan government’s narrative of being in control of the region.
Jailbreaks are fast becoming the signature recruitment tool for the Taliban. In April 2011, close to 500 prisoners were set free after the group attacked a jail in Kandahar city. In July 2010, 19 convicts escaped a prison in Farah province. In November 2009, 12 prisoners tunneled out of their jail cells in Farah. In June 2008, more than 900 prisoners were let loose in Kandahar from Sarposa prison
The Monday night jailbreak, the biggest since 2011, will complicate efforts by authorities to stem rising insecurity in Afghanistan and also raises the potential for a spike in terror activity in the region.