National / World

Jail Attack Sign of Taliban's Strength


Islamabad, Apr 16 (IANS): The audacious Taliban attack on a jail in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that freed about 400 prisoners is a demonstration of their physical and logistical strength, said a Pakistani daily, warning that this could happen again.

An editorial in the News International Monday said the attackers Sunday presumably achieved their objectives - "the release of 384 prisoners from Bannu jail".

Describing the brazen assault, the daily said "they blew in the front gates and two walls of the prison then fought the guards and police for about two hours. They had heavy weapons, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Part of the prison was ablaze by the time they withdrew".

The editorial said the Taliban have "never mounted an operation of this kind in Pakistan before, although they have in Afghanistan breaching the walls of Kandahar Jail 18 months ago".

"It is a demonstration of their physical and logistical strength - and if they can do it once then they can do it again, a possibility that must be weighing heavily on the minds of those in the prison service and the upper echelons of government," it said.

The daily went on to say that those freed by the Taliban will in all probability rejoin their ranks, "further strengthening a group that, despite claims to the contrary by over-confident law-enforcement agencies, continues to present a significant threat".

Calling the attack "a significant boost for Taliban morale and a significant blow to the morale of our own forces that had thought things were going in their direction", it said: "Once is enough, and the Taliban must never be allowed to pull off another operation like this is future."

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