Around 30 prisoners managed to escape an Afghan prison after Taliban gunmen attacked the jail, sparking clashes that left three inmates dead and 28 wounded, officials said on Friday.
A large explosion blew a hole in the wall of the prison in Sari Pul, capital of the northern province of the same name, shortly after darkness fell on Thursday, deputy provincial governor Akhtar Mohammad Khairzada told AFP.
"This was followed by 10 minutes of gunbattles by the Taliban insurgents with Afghan security forces in which three inmates were killed and 28 others were wounded," he said.
Around 31 inmates fled the prison but security forces managed to capture 16 of them and were hunting the rest, Khairzada said.
Sari Pul police chief, Yaqoob Zabuli, confirmed the incident, saying the dead inmates were killed by prison guards.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, the Afghan Islamic Press agency reported.
"As a result of the attack, 170 prisoners escaped from the prison. The mujahideen took them to safer places. The escaped detainees include Taliban's district chiefs and other commanders," AIP quoted spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi as saying.
In a spectacular jailbreak in April last year, almost 500 mostly Taliban inmates made it out of a prison in southern Kandahar province through a 250-metre tunnel lined with lights and an air pipe.