Story highlights

Three inmates died in the blast

The prison is in Sar-e-Pul in northern Afghanistan

Four of the escapees are Taliban members

The police chief and prison director were fired

Kabul, Afghanistan CNN  — 

Afghan forces are hunting down 14 inmates who escaped from a northern Afghan prison, the Afghan Interior Ministry said on Saturday.

They fled jail after a blast at the prison in Sar-e-Pul on Thursday night killed three prisoners and led to the escape of 32 inmates, said Sediq Sediqqi, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman.

He said the explosives used in the blast had been smuggled into the prison. As for the escaped inmates, Sediqqi said 18 of them were eventually caught. Four Taliban members and 10 others referred to as “criminals” remain on the run.

The incident led to the firing of the Sar-e-Pul police chief and prison director, who now face questioning.

SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online militant activity, said the Afghan Taliban claimed that it launched an operation that freed 170 fighters and killed 13 “enemy troops.”

A Taliban spokesman said in a website communique that fighters attacked guards and blew a hole into the main prison wall, SITE said.

“This successful operation demonstrates that the enemy deeply lacks the moral and military skills despite being deeply entrenched and still failing in protecting the prison,” Taliban spokesman Muhammad Yusuf said.

But Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a police spokesman, rejected the Taliban claims. He said three inmates died and 20 others were injured. Five tried to escape but were arrested, he said.

CNN’s Ingrid Formanek contributed to this report.