Updated: 03/02/2014 14:03 | By Agence France-Presse

Letter trick spells freedom from Afghan jail for 12 Taliban

A dozen Taliban fighters walked out of jail in southern Afghanistan thanks to a trick in which their names were added to a letter listing prisoners who had completed their sentences, officials said Sunday.

Letter trick spells freedom from Afghan jail for 12 Taliban

An Afghan policeman stands guard inside the jail in Kandahar on April 27, 2011

The 12 men escaped from Kandahar city jail about three days ago -- the latest security breach at the facility which has suffered several Taliban jailbreaks in recent years.

"The attorney general sent a letter to release 16 people," deputy police chief Rahmatullah Atrafee told AFP.

"The 12 other names were added later, but it is unclear how it happened. They are all insurgents."

Two of the 12 have since been recaptured, police said.

A security official who declined to be named told AFP that the doctored letter could have altered inside the jail by prison authorities sympathetic to the insurgents.

He added that the men belonged to one of the most active Taliban gangs in Kandahar -- birthplace of the Islamist movement that is fighting a bloody insurgency against US-led NATO and Afghan forces.

In a spectacular jailbreak in April 2011, 500 mostly Taliban inmates made it out of the same prison through a 250-metre (-yard) tunnel lined with lights and an air pipe.

About 30 prisoners also escaped in 2012 when gunmen attacked the jail.

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