JNN 27 April 2011 Afghan President Hamid Karzai says hundreds of inmates who have escaped from a central prison in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, must have received inside help. While the US force were guarding the Prison for the last four Months.At the same time An Iraqi investigative committee has confirmed that US forces were involved in the escape of a dozen al-Qaeda members from a prison in the southern city of Basra.
The escape of all the inmates through a tunnel in the jail is indicative of cooperation and assistance from inside the prison, Karzai’s office said in a statement on Tuesday following an initial report from the justice minister.
Also on Tuesday, Afghan authorities said they recaptured 65 prisoners who were among some 541 escapees, a Press TV correspondent reported.
It is said that 106 of the inmates are key Taliban commanders.
General Ghulam Dastgir, the governor of the jail, said many of the prisoners are on the run and have possibly found safe havens in neighboring Pakistan.
The prisoners had dug a 360-meter-long tunnel under the prison’s ground, which took over six months to complete, according to Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi.
Taliban claim that the move was pre-planned and that Taliban vehicles had been waiting for the prisoners at the end of the tunnel, somewhere outside the prison.
Afghan officials say local and foreign forces are to blame for allowing the prison break.
They say US troops, who had been present at the jail for four months as the tunnel was taking shape, should have noticed something.
Analysts have also faulted foreign forces for the incident. They say Washington is trying to convince Americans as well as the Afghan public that the Taliban threat is still serious.
They say it is to justify the US presence in the country, especially at a time when many are opposed to Washington’s plans for the establishment of permanent US bases in Afghanistan.
The US authorities have set a big budget for a strategic agreement with Kabul, which is reportedly set to be distributed among the members of the traditional grand assembly — Loya Jirga — who will decide on the establishment of the US bases.
The Afghan president has announced his strong opposition to the establishment of permanent US military bases in Afghanistan.
Karzai said Washington presented a draft document on strategic relations which is still under review.
The Iraqi committee, established by the Iraqi parliament, has found that US forces were behind an operation to help the 12 al-Qaeda members escape from prison, which was carried out by a group of Iraqi officers earlier this year.
The fugitives conducted a number of terrorist attacks in Iraq, including a deadly bombing at a market in Basra in 2010.
Earlier in April, amateur footage showed US forces used disproportionate force and live rounds against prisoners at Camp Bucca, a US prison facility located in Iraq.
The Iraqi detainees were protesting the US troops’ desecration of Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an.