Prison break Taliban-style: hundreds escape jail in Pakistan

Death row prisoners escape after brazen, two-hour raid by heavily-armed militants

Militants in Pakistan carried out a brazen strike against the security forces in the early hours of yesterday morning – launching a two-hour long attack on a jail and releasing almost 400 inmates.

The authorities were last night trying to trace at least 380 prisoners, among them many militants, who fled after dozens of Taliban fighters carried out a sustained attack on the jail in the town on Bannu, close to Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area.

Despite the duration of the attack, the prison guards apparently received no back-up from the military.

"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," a Taliban spokesman told Reuters.

Reports said that anywhere up to 100 fighters were involved in the attack that began sometime before dawn, and were equipped with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

Having breached the walls of the jail, the militants apparently made their way to the section where prisoners who are on death row were held.

Their priority appears to have been securing the release of Adnan Rashid, who was in jail for his role in a failed assassination against former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

For up to two hours the militants fought with the jail's guards before setting part of the jail on fire and releasing the inmates. Officials said 20 of those who escaped were considered particularly dangerous.

The incident will be a painful reminder of the enduring power and threat of the militants after a number of operations against them by the Pakistani military since 2007. The country's authorities have been repeatedly pressured by the US to do more to take on the Taliban and its al-Qa'ida allies, especially those involved in cross-border attacks inside Afghanistan.

The results have been mixed and the Pakistani military has shown little appetite to confront militants who are not a threat to the state.

Imtiaz Gul, an author and head of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, an Islamabad-based think-tank, said the incident was a huge embarrassment that demanded a full investigation. He said it appeared that the militants had received inside information about the location of their jailed colleagues.

"This is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. It's a huge embarrassment for the entire security apparatus," he said. "Militants always have the element of surprise on their side. But this also shows the lack of communication between the civilian and military bodies. This went on for two hours and the army or paramilitaries should have had time to get there."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Neil Warnock
football'New' manager for Crystal Palace
News
peopleGerman paper published pictures of 18-month-old daughter
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicKate Bush set to re-enter album charts after first conerts in 35 years
Sport
Angel Di Maria poses with Louis van Gaal after signing for Manchester United
sport
Arts and Entertainment
BBC series 'Sherlock' scooped a hat-trick of awards on the night. Benedict Cumberbatch received the award for Actor, Miniseries or Movie ('Sherlock: His Last Vow') while Martin Freeman won the award for Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie. Neither actor was present to collect their awards
tv
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Oracle DBA (Database Administrator, 10g, 11g, PL/SQL)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + £5k shift allowance, 12% bonus, benefits: Clearwat...

Cover Supervisor

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Cover Sup...

IT Teacher September strt with view to permanent post

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IT...

Qualified Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: This independent Nursery is looking fo...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis