Video shows thousands of prisoners, reportedly including Islamic State and al Qaeda fighters, freed from Kabul jail by the Taliban

Prisoners run free in Afghanistan
Inmates at Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul, Afghanistan are released by the Taliban on August 15, 2021. Mashal Afghan News/BBC/@RichardEngel
  • Taliban militants released thousands of inmates from a prison in Kabul on Sunday.
  • Some of the prisoners are said to have fought for the Islamic State and al Qaeda.
  • Militants reached the outskirts of Kabul and said they want a peaceful handover of power.
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Thousands of inmates, including former Islamic State and al-Qaeda fighters, were released from a prison on the outskirts of Kabul as the Taliban called for a “peaceful transition” of power.

Afghan government troops surrendered Bagram airbase to the Taliban early on Sunday. The base houses Pul-e-Charki prison, which has around 5,000 prisoners. It is the largest in Afghanistan and notorious for its poor conditions. A maximum-security cellblock held members of al Qaeda and Taliban, said reports.

Footage published by an independent Afghan news agency, which supports the Taliban, appears to show militants letting the inmates out.

Local residents say they have also heard gunfire coming from the facility, the BBC reported.

The Taliban arrived on the outskirts of Kabul on Sunday, several days after capturing other major cities in the country.

Acting Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said the country will now have a “peaceful transfer of power” to a transitional government led by the Taliban, the Associated Press reported.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and Vice President Amrullah Saleh have both already left the country, according to Reuters.

At the end of July, the United Nations warned that the threat from terror groups such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda were expanding in Afghanistan.