Taliban insurgents raided a prison in northwest Pakistan this morning, freeing around 250 prisoners, including dozens of well-known terrorists. The raid came just a week after a similar prison break unleashed more than 500 former prisoners on Iraq.
Fourteen people were killed in yesterday's attack, which began when militants disguised as police fired rockets at the main gate of the Dera Ismail Khan prison and then started a firefight with actual police and guards. Some of the militants were also wearing suicide vests. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
There are even reports that the prison knew the attack was coming, as intelligence officials had intercepted messages between insurgents that alerted them to the plan. Yet, they were unable to prevent the escape of hundreds of criminals.
While the two attacks are not directly related, they underscore the continuing struggle to rein in terrorists, when so many of those who are jailed don't stay jailed. Many of those who broke out of the Iraq prison are believed to have already fled to Syria, where al-Qaeda and their affiliates have taken advantage of the lawlessness and chaos of the civil war there to expand their ranks. Many of the Pakistani Taliban will continue to plot new operations both in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan. American troops have been gone from Iraq for less than a year, and violence has already returned to levels not seen since the worst days of the war.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.