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Prisoners escape northern Afghanistan jail

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More than a dozen prisoners, including criminals and members of the Taliban, are on the run after escaping from a jail in northern Afghanistan, officials have said.

A large explosion blew a hole in the wall of the prison in Sar-e-Pul, capital of the northern province of the same name, shortly after darkness fell on Thursday, deputy provincial governor Akhtar Mohammad Khairzada told the AFP news agency.

He blamed the Taliban for carrying out the bombing.

"This was followed by 10 minutes of gunbattles by the Taliban insurgents with Afghan security forces in which three inmates were killed and 28 others were wounded," Khairzada said.

He said about 30 prisoners escaped through the rubble. Many were recaptured but authorities are still looking for at least 14 prisoners who managed to escape.

Abdul Ghani, a member of the provincial council, said inmates made the bomb inside the compound and blew up a prison tower. He said he feared the escape would mean deteriorating security in the province.

In a spectacular jailbreak in April last year, almost 500, mostly Taliban inmates, made it out of a prison in southern Kandahar province through a 250-metre tunnel lined with lights and an air pipe.


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