Real life imitated art in Afghanistan's troubled Kandahar province as the Taliban took a page out of Steve McQueen's playbook, dug a tunnel underneath an Afghan prison where hundreds of high value detainees were being held, and 478 prisoners waltzed out of jail -- free men due to the incompetence of Afghan security forces.
Hard to overstate the disaster this is. Reuters:
Hundreds of prisoners escaped from a prison in Afghanistan's south on Monday through a tunnel dug by Taliban insurgents, officials said, a "disaster" for the Afghan government and a setback for foreign forces planning to start a gradual withdrawal within months.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai's chief spokesman said the incident, in which many Taliban commanders were said to have escaped, exposed serious vulnerabilities in the Afghan government.
"This is a blow, it is something that should not have happened ... We are looking into finding out ... what exactly happened and what is being done to compensate for the disaster that happened in the prison," spokesman Waheed Omer told a news conference.
"It shows a great vulnerability in the Afghan government."
Tooryalai Wesa, governor of volatile southern Kandahar province, told Reuters 478 prisoners escaped due to the negligence of Afghan security forces at the province's main jail. He said the start of the tunnel had been traced to a house near the prison.
The Steve McQueen movie - The Great Escape - was a dramatized account of allied POW's digging a tunnel to freedom for 76 men - most of whom were eventually recaptured (50 escapees were murdered by the Gestapo.) The Taliban had considerably more success and few of the prisoners will probably be recaptured.
It is even money that the prisoners had help from some in the Afghan army who were guarding them. That kind of corruption is common place in a country that continues to show it is unworthy of the expenditure of treasure and blood by the US military.