KABUL: An Afghan soldier detained for killing a foreign soldier escaped from his cell andwalked off a military base with the help of a guard who also absconded, officials saidyesterday. The pair hitched a lift to the main gate of the base aboard a military truck, one localofficial said. The escape raises questions about the capacity and professionalism of theAfghan army as the remaining 100,000 foreign troops prepare to leave next year.
The soldier was arrested last Tuesday after opening fire on foreign troops. Thesoldier, from Slovakia, died and six other soldiers were wounded during the attackat a military base in the southern province of Kandahar.
Officials said the Afghan fled his prison cell on Sunday.“An Afghan army soldier who opened fire on Slovakian soldiers last week has run awayfrom detention,” General Abdul Hameed, the top Afghan army commander in the south,said.He said another soldier, who had guarded his cell, assisted his breakout and abscondedwith him.
The pair managed to sneak off the base by pretending that the detainee was sickand needed to be taken to a military hospital, Hameed said.
The US-led International Security Assistance Force said it had “full confidence” that hewould be re-arrested. “We have full confidence in our Afghan partners, that they will doan investigation, they will be able to bring this individual back to custody,” said ISAFspokesman Brigadier General Heinz Feldmann.
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General Zahir Azimi, spokesman for the Afghan Defence Ministry, said an investigationhad been launched. The Taliban said the shooter, whom they named Isanullah, had links to them and washelped by a fellow soldier to escape.
“To avoid trouble for him we didn’t reveal at the time that he had links with theTaliban... now that he has escaped and safely joined the mujaheedin, he waswelcomed by the mujaheedin,” the militants said in a statement.
A local official said the guard, a fellow soldier, and the shooter walked out of the prisonand hitched a lift, asking to be dropped off at the gate. “The driver agreed withoutrealising their identity. They walked off the base and disappeared,” he said.Songs supporting the Taliban’s armed struggle and suicide bombings had been found onhis mobile phone during investigation, the official said.
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS