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At least 19 inmates escape after blast in Afghan prison

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The province governor's spokesman says 11 inmates are still on the loose
  • He says the bomb was smuggled into the prison
  • The province police chief says Taliban militants attacked police posts at the same time
  • The prison is in Farah province in western Afghanistan

(CNN) -- At least 19 inmates escaped after a bomb went off Sunday at the main gate of a prison in western Afghanistan, officials said.

Police later arrested eight, but 11 are still on the loose, said Sha Mohammad Noor, spokesman for Farah province governor.

The explosion killed one police officer, he said.

Police arrested four inmates who they suspect were responsible for planting the bomb, which was smuggled inside the prison, he said. One of them later died in the hospital from injuries suffered in the blast.

Farah Police Chief Gen. Faqir Askar said the blast occurred around 3 a.m. at the prison, which holds 400 inmates. At the same time, suspected Taliban militants were attacking police posts in the area, he said.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf said all Taliban inmates in the province had escaped, and that 15 police and government officials were killed in attacks.

Journalists Matiullah Mati and Muhib Habibi contributed to this report.