Taleban Rebels in Afghanistan Escape High Security Prison
24 January 2006
A national manhunt is under way in Afghanistan for seven Taleban members who broke out of the country's main high security prison.
Senior Afghan officials say the men escaped the Policharki prison complex Sunday afternoon.
The prison's director, General Abdul Salam Bakshi, said the escape apparently occurred while relatives were visiting the high security facility outside the capital Kabul.
He says a manhunt is under way, but so far there is no sign of the seven men.
The fugitives are described as mid-ranking Taleban rebels, each one sentenced to around 16 years behind bars.
The general says 10 prison guards are being investigated for possibly helping the men escape.
Afghan officials say they expect the United States to soon transfer at least 100 suspected Taleban militants from the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Afghanistan - although no specific dates have been given.
Militant members of the former Taleban government are conducting a violent insurgency, trying to unseat the current Afghan government. U.S. and Afghan forces have captured thousands of militants since the Taleban were overthrown in 2001.
Sunday's breakout was the second high-profile prison escape in the past year.
Last July four suspected terrorists, including one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants, Omar al-Faruq, broke out of a U.S. military prison north of Kabul.
Originally from Kuwait, Faruq was captured in Indonesia in 2002 before being handed over to U.S. officials.
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