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THE AFGHAN JAILBREAK

In a recent attack on the Jalalabad prison in Afghanistan, 29 people have been killed, more than 50 are wounded and more than 1,025 prisoners have escaped.


On Sunday evening, a car bomb was detonated at the entrance of a major prison in Afghanistan, the Jalalabad prison. This was followed by at least two other blasts. Two gunmen had suicide vests on and were carrying machine guns as well as rocket-propelled grenade launchers. They breached the prison's security perimeter and initiated a gun battle with the prison guards. The attackers even occupied the prison watchtowers and were shooting at the guards from there.


Taking advantage of the chaos, most of the 1,793 prisoners managed to escape.


The city of Jalalabad was put under curfew, essential shops were closed and not a soul was seen on the streets.


But, the Afghan police pulled up their socks, diverted manpower to recapture those prisoners and by today afternoon, around 1,025 inmates had been caught. Moreover, around 300 prisoners who tried to escape had been taken to an army base close by.


As for the attackers, eight of them were killed in a gun battle that lasted for about 20 hours. And, the death toll of 29 persons includes prisoners, guards and Afghan security forces as well.


The Jalalabad prison is actually made up of ISIS and Taliban fighters. Hence, it isn't surprising that this particular prison was selected for the jailbreak. But, the event that triggered this attack was actually the killing of a senior ISIS commander- Assadullah Orakzai, by the Afghan security forces.

Unfortunately, ISIS has been gaining immense power in the region. Jalalabad is the capital of the Nangarhar province, ISIS' stronghold in Afghanistan. Last month, a United Nations report estimated that there were about 2,200 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan.


ISIS has indeed lost its leadership, yet it still remains capable of carrying out high-profile attacks because they are scorn at this point. They were always capable of doing the worst of things, and the lack of leadership has never stopped them from spreading violence in countries or killing innocent people. In fact, on 12th May, they carried out another deadly attack that killed 32 mourners at a funeral for a police commander. That is the extent to which they are willing to go, and they want the Afghan government to know that.


Earlier this year, Taliban signed a deal with the United States, pledging to releasing security personnel that they had taken as prisoners and preventing terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a base for attacks. And, while the Taliban may have cooperated with US and the Afghan government to some extent, ISIS surely isn't willing to do so. This recent attack just goes to show that they aren't bowing down to the government, at least not anytime soon.


Reporter- Haneen Farid

Bangalore, India | epicenter.newsmedia@gmail.com

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