Taliban prison escape 'a disaster'
The escape of hundreds of Taliban prisoners from an Afghan jail is a "disaster", a Foreign Office minister has said.
A total of 476 inmates, including insurgent commanders, fled through a tunnel from Sarposa prison outside Kandahar early on Monday.
Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt told the Commons a handful had previously been arrested by British troops.
He said: "This is a significant event, a disaster in security terms."
Mr Burt said the freed inmates were originally captured "at great cost to all who were involved".
He believed troops who caught the insurgents had been "let down" by the prison break, adding: "There must be an investigation so we find out what happened. We must get to the bottom of it and the security system must be tightened."
But he claimed transferring power and responsibility to the Afghans was important because there "was not another answer to the security". Mr Burt said: "Afghans themselves must be responsible ultimately for their own security and safety."
Mr Burt told MPs: "This is a serious event which vividly underlines the importance of building a secure prison sector in Afghanistan."
The jail was being controlled by officials from the Central Prisons Directorate of the Afghan Ministry of Justice when inmates fled at 4am, escaping through a hole dug by Taliban comrades.
The 1,180ft passage led to a house occupied by insurgents who spent five months digging the tunnel into the prison compound. Afghan troops and police are combing surrounding hideouts to recapture the escapees.