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Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 15:08 UK

Afghan jail break police sacked

An Afghan police officer searches the passenger of a vehicle in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 14 June 2008
Security forces carried out searches after the mass escape

The police chief of the Afghan city of Kandahar has been sacked for negligence by the central government after 900 prisoners escaped from the main jail.

Gen Sayed Aqa Saqib was dismissed along with his deputy and another aide for failing to prevent the mass jail break.

A suicide bomber in a fuel truck smashed into the gates of the prison on 13 June and militants stormed the building, setting their comrades free.

Police said that about 300 militants were among those who escaped.

Removed

A statement by the Afghan interior ministry said that it would not allow anyone to play with the security of Afghan citizens and that Col Matiullah Khan has been appointed to replace Gen Saqib.

"The investigation shows some officials neglected their duties, therefore the government of Afghanistan has decided to sack General Sayed Aqa Saqib, the provincial police chief of Kandahar," the Interior Ministry statement said.

The statement said that the local head of the intelligence agency and the head of police criminal investigations were also dismissed.

Kandahar prison, 14 June
Taleban militants attacked the prison with a truck bomb and rockets

It said that the cases of all three have been forwarded to the attorney general's office for further investigation.

Correspondents say that the jail break was a major embarrassment for the Afghan government, as it showed Taleban insurgents were still capable of staging a large operation in the heart of the country's second city.

Days after the mass escape, hundreds of Taleban fighters gathered in villages near Kandahar, leading to a large Nato and Afghan operation against them.

The Afghan authorities have also appointed a delegation led by the deputy security Interior Minister, Gen Munir Mangal, to investigate the escape.

'Baseless'

In a separate development, Pakistan has rejected a claim by the Afghan intelligence service that Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) was behind an assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai in April.

An Afghan spokesman said on Wednesday they had confessions from suspects in custody indicating the ISI's involvement.

Pakistan says the allegation is "baseless and irresponsible".


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