Nearly 400 prisoners have escaped a prison in Pakistan after Islamist militants entered the complex driving pick-up trucks and cars while shooting guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The two-hour long attack, which occurred at 20:00 GMT Saturday, eventually resulted in the escape of a total of 381 inmates, according to Pakistani officials. An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, was quoted by Reuters having said:
“There was intense gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades were also used.”
Pakistan’s Taliban has taken credit for the attack. While their claim has yet to be verified, a Taliban spokesman was quoted by Reuters news agency having said:
“We have freed hundreds of our comrades in Bannu in this attack. Several of our people have reached their destinations, others are on their way.”
The jail which was attacked is located in Bannu, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is right next-door to Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal areas near the border of Afghanistan.
Iftikhar Khan, a senior Bannu police official, conveyed to Agence France-Presse that 3 police officers were wounded in the assault on the prison complex. Officials have indicated that the prison was, prior to the attack, housing 944 prisoners and at least 20 of them are considered:
Pakistani Police say that one of the escaped prisoners, Adnan Rashid, is a “dangerous” insurgent on death row for the attempted assassination of former President Pervez Musharraf. Pervez is a retired four-star general who ruled as the 10th President of Pakistan from 2001-2008, until his resignation amidst potential impeachment.
While this recent prison break has resulted in hundreds of escaped prisoners, the Taliban executed a similar operation last April in Afghanistan which resulted in the escape of 470 prisoners which included both Taliban fighters as well as commanders.
While Pakistan’s security forces have gained considerable ground against insurgents in the country’s north-west, this latest al Qaeda-linked Taliban attack is certainly a setback.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, is perceived as the most formidable and significant threat to the country’s sovereignty as the group continues to execute suicide bombings and shootings in an attempt to impose their own version of Islam upon Pakistan.
What are your thoughts on this latest of latest Taliban attacks?