Interpol has issued an international security alert for 417 prisoners, including Taliban militants, who escaped from an Afghan prison in April.
An Orange Notice has been issued at the request of Interpol’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Kabul, according to a report on the security agency’s website issued from Lyon, France.
Interpol said the jailbreak constituted a major threat to global security. Warrants were issued on May 27 to inform member countries, including Pakistan, about the escape. “It is obligatory for member countries to extend the required help to Interpol to re-arrest the absconders,” an official in Islamabad told The Express Tribune.
During the night of April 24, the Taliban broke out more than 470 prisoners from the Sarposa prison in Kandahar through a tunnel constructed from outside the prison perimeter fence into the prison interior.
Following the escape, information on fugitive prisoners was provided through an already existing programme between Interpol’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France, and its NCB in Washington, which provides for information-sharing on terrorism-related issues.
Meanwhile, police and security agencies in Balochistan are searching for those Afghan Taliban prisoners who have reportedly crossed into Pakistan via the Chaman border, informed sources told The Express Tribune.
A search was initiated after reports that over 500 Afghan Taliban, who managed to escape from the Kandahar prison, were hiding in Quetta and surrounding areas. The reports claimed that some of them are high-value terrorists who were taken into custody by US-led forces in Kandahar.
An official from the foreign affairs ministry said they had no knowledge of reports about the Taliban hiding in Quetta. “Neither the Afghan government nor any international organisation has approached us on this issue,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
A spokesperson for Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the escape a disaster, which should never have happened. The Afghan government also admitted that the jailbreak could not have been possible without collaboration between prison authorities and the Taliban. According to Afghan sources, prison authorities were paid as much as Rs700,000 by Taliban in bribes to help the jailbreak.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2011.
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