Taliban hit Afghan police posts; free 23 prisoners

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HERAT, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Taliban guerrillas staged a series of raids in western Afghanistan Sunday, blowing up the gate of a jail and freeing 23 insurgent prisoners, officials said.

Ousted in a U.S.-led invasion in 2001, the Taliban have made a comeback in recent years, dealing heavy losses to Afghan and foreign forces and carrying out brazen attacks on key locations, including in the capital.

Insurgents attacked four police posts leading to the center of Farah town early Sunday, said Mohammad Younus Rasooli, the governor of western Farah province, bordering Iran.

“They kept the police preoccupied and the same time blew up the gate of Farah’s jail, which resulted in the escape of 23 prisoners,” Rasooli told Reuters by phone.

Four of the inmates were immediately arrested because they had suffered wounds in the escape, he said, adding seven more were captured.

A policeman was killed during the incident, which lasted several hours, he said.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Qari Mohammad Yousuf, confirmed that members of the movement were behind the attacks.

Reporting by Sharafuddin Sharafyar; writing by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by David Fox