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Taliban fighters stage prison break in Afghanistan


(CBS News) KABUL, Afghanistan - Taliban fighters blew a hole in the side of a prison in northern Afghanistan Thursday night, allowing 31 inmates to escape.

Just after nightfall, insurgents attacked the prison in Sar-e-Pul province. A 10-minute gun battle followed, according to deputy provincial governor Akhtar Mohammad Khairzada, resulting in the deaths of three inmates; twenty-eight others were wounded.

Afghan security forces captured 16 of the prisoners shortly after the escape, but 15 are still at large.

This is not the first time Taliban prisoners have escaped from Afghanistan's prisons.

Nearly 500 Taliban militants escaped from Sarposa Prison - the largest prison in southern Afghanistan - in April 2011. Insurgents spent months digging a tunnel into the jail in Kandahar. Afghan President Hamid Karzai described that escape as a "disaster."

In 2008, 1,200 prisoners escaped from the same prison, after Taliban insurgents fought their way into it and broke the locks of every cell.

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