WORLDPakistani Taliban Assault Prison, Freeing Almost 400By ISMAIL KHAN and DECLAN WALSHPublished: April 16, 2012PESHAWAR, Pakistan - In what is being called the biggest jail-break in Pakistani history, Taliban fighters stormed a prison in the northwestern town of Bannu early Sunday, freeing almost 400 prisoners, including a militant commander who tried to assassinate the former president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.The assault started at 1.30 a.m. Sunday when at least 100 militants driving pick-up trucks and armed with grenades and small arms attacked the main gate of the prison, which housed 900 inmates, provincial government officials said.After blasting their way into the prison, the attackers broke open cell doors and set free 384 inmates, including several who had been condemned to death, said the home minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Mohammad Azam Khan.*A senior security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said prison guards had offered little resistance to the Taliban, who were in "total control" of the facility for over two hours. "The militants asked them to get aside and leave," he said.The fierce, disciplined raid represented an operational boost and a propaganda coup for the Pakistani Taliban, which wasted little time in claiming responsibility."We have released our men without losing a single man," said Ihsanullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the group, speaking from an undisclosed location. "We had been planning this blessed operation for months."The authorities launched a search operation in Bannu and the towns of Lakki Marwat and Kohat, shutting down mobile phone networks and arresting 11 prisoners by evening. Another 20 voluntarily returned to the prison, said Mr.*Khan, the provincial home minister.*But the most likely destination for many of the fugitives was North Waziristan, a lawless tribal area adjoining Bannu that is rife with militants from Al Qaeda, the Haqqani Taliban network and other militant groups, many operating on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. North Waziristan has born the brunt of the C.I.A.'s drone strike campaign, which the Pakistani parliament last week demanded should end immediately."This is the largest jailbreak in Pakistan's history," said Malik Naveed Khan, a former police chief of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. "It's a very serious failure. Such a large number of people barging into a jail in the middle of the night raises serious questions."Mr. Khan noted that the Taliban's ability to attack in Pakistani cities had been eroded in the past year, but that the jailbreak would "give them a major boost to their morale."While the provincial police had received extra money, training and weapons, the prisons service remains woefully under-resourced, he added. "Our jails are not equipped to handle these kinds of military assaults."The scale and discipline of the Taliban jailbreak was in stark contrast to the disorganized response of Pakistani security forces. During the raid, militants kept the police at bay by blockading all roads leading to the prison. The police reach the prison only after two hours, by which time the militants had fled.Television footage from the scene showed the destroyed prison gate, empty cells and bullet cases scattered across the ground.It was not clear how many of the escapees were militants. But the provincial information minister, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, described at least 20 as "very dangerous," and confirmed that one of them was Adnan Rashid, a junior air force officer who had been sentenced to death for his part in an attempt to assassinate General Musharraf on December 14, 2003.Mr. Rashid was one of six Pakistani Air Force soldiers convicted for their part in the plot, five of whom have been sentenced to death. General Musharraf lives in self-imposed exile in London, although he has repeatedly promised to return to Pakistan to re-launch his political career.Provincial officials admitted that the assault was an indictment of the security forces and their ability to protest the most sensitive installations."There has been an intelligence failure and there has been a security failure," the security official acknowledged. "There was no preemption and there was no response while shooting and bombing continued for more than two hours. It seems as though there was no real effort to stop the militants."Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud contributed reporting from Islamabad.ARTICLE TOOLSMULTIPLE PAGESSHARE*TO*FACEBOOKSHARE*TO*TWITTERVIEW ARTICLE ON NYTIMES.COM »
Even Adobe Photoshop can't change me.
A line[Durrand line] of hatred that raised a wall between the two brothers -Hamid Karzai
For generations, the Hindus of India prayed for deliverance from "the venom of the cobra, the teeth of the tiger and the vengeance of the Afghan."
The men of Kábul and Khilj also went home; and whenever they were questioned about the Musulmáns of the Kohistán (the mountains), and how matters stood there, they said, "Don't call it Kohistán, but Afghánistán; for there is nothing there but Afgháns and disturbances." Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghánistán, and themselves Afgháns. The people of India call them Patán; but the reason for this is not known. But it occurs to me, that when, under the rule of Muhammadan sovereigns, Musulmáns first came to the city of Patná, and dwelt there, the people of India (for that reason) called them Patáns—but God knows!