A day after the Afghan army killed dozens of Taliban fighters in military operations, a Taliban suicide squad struck back.
The insurgents raided a jail in eastern Afghanistan early Monday, setting 350 inmates free, a provincial official said. They killed four police officers and wounded another seven in their attack.
The Taliban fighters detonated an explosives-laden vehicle in front of the jail in the city of Ghazni, and fired rocket-propelled grenades. Then six militants dressed in Afghan police uniforms raided the jail, said Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, deputy governor of Ghazni province.
Police returned fire, killing at least three insurgents, Ahmadi said.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack. Ten suicide fighters carried it out, three of whom died, Mujahid said.
In a statement, the Taliban said that the majority of the freed prisoners were either Taliban commanders and fighters or Taliban members' relatives.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said more than a third of the escapees had been charged with national and international security crimes. Two-thirds had been charged with criminal offenses.
In 2011, Taliban fighters carried out an even larger prison raid freeing more than 500 inmates from a prison in Kandahar province.
Army offensive kills 100
Monday's prison break closely followed operations by the Afghan National Army, which said its forces killed 100 militants over the weekend.
The operations, which occurred in 11 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, were conducted in a 24-hour period from Saturday afternoon into Sunday, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.
A dozen ANA soldiers died in the fighting, according to a ministry statement.
In addition to the 100 insurgents killed, another 35 were wounded and one was taken into custody, the statement said.
The ANA also said its forces seized caches of weapons and defused 30 mines.