Source: AP / CBS News
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, PAKISTAN – Prison guards said Tuesday that they were totally overwhelmed when around 150 heavily armed Taliban fighters staged a late-night attack on their jail in northwest Pakistan, freeing over 250 prisoners including over three dozen suspected militants.
It was the second such attack by the Taliban on a prison in the northwest within the last 18 months. But even so, the security forces were totally unprepared for the raid, despite senior prison officials having received intelligence indicating an attack was likely. Over a dozen people were killed in the assault.
The incident in the town of Dera Ismail Khan raises serious questions about state institutions’ capacity to battle a domestic Taliban insurgency that has raged for years and killed tens of thousands of security personnel and civilians.
Hidayat Ullah, a policeman who was guarding the prison when the attack started at around 11:30 p.m. on Monday night, said he and several colleagues jumped into an armored vehicle inside the prison grounds and drove to the main gate to defend the compound. They directed fire at the gate after the militants blew it up, but a mortar or rocket-propelled grenade hit their vehicle, killing two policemen and wounding Ullah and two others.
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