Taliban terrorists attacked a jail in the eastern Afghan province of Ghazni, freeing more than 350 inmates and killing four policemen.
In a statement, the Afghan Ministry of Interior said there were 436 prisoners in the jail when it was stormed by the Taliban, and 355 managed to escape, reports Khaama Press.
The remaining 81 are in the custody of security forces, added the statement.
Of those prisoners who escaped, 148 were reportedly detained on terrorism charges involving national security threats.
According to the Ministry of Interior, the early Monday assault began with a suicide attack at the front gate of the detention center, followed by a heavy gun battle between the Taliban terrorists and the Afghan security forces.
“The deputy governor of Ghazni province Mohammad Ali Ahmadi said one militant blew himself up at the prison gates, allowing others to force open cells,” reports BBC.
“Four terrorists were gunned down by the security forces,” noted the ministry, adding, “Two prisoners were also killed in the clash between terrorists and police.”
Four policemen were also killed and seven others wounded in the attack. Deputy Governor Ahmadi indicated that the Taliban terrorists “were well-organized and wearing uniforms.”
In claiming responsibility for the fatal incident, the Taliban said several of its commanders were among the inmates who were set free.
Afghan Security forces have reportedly launched an operation to apprehend the fugitives.
“It is the third time since 2008 that hundreds of Taliban inmates have escaped from an Afghan prison,” notes BBC.
As of Monday morning, only three prisoners had been recaptured.
“Mr Ahmadi did not reject the possibility the attackers had had help from inside the jail,” notes BBC.
“The massive overnight jailbreak in Afghanistan’s volatile Ghazni province is yet another reminder of the many challenges faced by the Afghan government,” it adds. “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.”
Afghan civilians and security forces have sustained a record number of casualties at the hands of the Taliban since President Obama declared an end to the 13-year-old U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan last December.
Nearly 9,000 U.S. troops were still serving in Afghanistan as of the end of May as part of the train and assist mission that began in January.