Afghan War prisoner escapes
During the 2001 Invasion of Afghanistan, many Taliban, al-Qaeda and militant fighters were captured and held at military bases in the region. On several occasions, there were instances of mass escapes.
In July 2005, Omar al-Faruq, the highest-ranked prisoner at the base and one of the highest-ranked al-Qaeda officers ever captured, escaped along with Libyan Abu Yahya al-Libi, Saudi Muhammad Jafar Jamal al-Kahtani and Syrian Abdullah Al-Shami.
All four prisoners had been individually found guilty of various acts of belligerence, and thus assigned to "Cell 119" in the days before the escape, the only cell set apart from the rest - though obstructed from guards' view.
On the night of July 15, the prisoners were all accounted for at the 01:50 headcount, then picked the lock of the cell, changed out of their prison uniforms, sneaked into the main camp area and crawled over a damaged wall and crossed a Soviet-era minefield to meet a getaway vehicle.
After their disappearance was noted at the 03:45 headcount, a massive manhunt, including the use of helicopters, was dispatched, though didn't manage to find any of the escapees. A military police officer was initially suspected of aiding their escape, but was cleared.
Initial reports from the U.S. military gave different names for the escapees, and included a reference to Libyan Hasan Qayad, who had appeared in a video giving a sermon on the end of Ramadan 4 November 2005.
On 18 October Kahtani released a videotape in Pakistan, detailing the escape and pledging further attacks against Saudi Arabia and United States.
Al-Faruq was killed by British soldiers in Iraq in September 2006. Al-Kathani was recaptured in Afghanistan in November 2006. Al-Shami was killed in an air strike in Afghanistan in July 2008. Al-Libi was killed in a drone strike in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan in June 2012. Consequently all the escapees have since been captured or killed.
- "Taliban prisoners escape in south Afghanistan's Kandahar". People's Daily. 2003-10-12. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- Eric Schmitt, Tim Golden (2005-12-05). "Details Emerge on a Brazen Escape in Afghanistan". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- "Key 'al-Qaeda militant' surfaces". BBC News. 2005-12-19. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- "Afghanistan: 'Al-Qaeda militant' resurfaces in video". Afghanistan: 'Al-Qaeda militant' resurfaces in video. 2005-12-19. Retrieved 2006.[dead link]