Megapundit Exclusive: Missing the point of the Kandahar prison break

Scott Taylor—publisher of Esprit de Corps, weekly columnist for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and a regular Megapundit must-read—has just returned from his third undembedded tour of Afghanistan. He weighs in on the coverage of Friday’s brazen jailbreak in Kandahar:

There is certainly plenty of finger pointing and told-you-so-ing going on among those pundits who desperately want us to believe that the Sarposa prison break last Friday is the direct result of Canadian government neglect. While it may be true that internal Corrections Canada documents raised concerns about Sarposa’s inadequate perimeter defenses more than a year ago, we cannot ignore the reality of what actually transpired. We know that a suicide car bomb was used to blast a hole in the main gate, and that a firefight ensued there between the prison guards and Taliban attackers. Although the prison was never completely overrun, we are to believe that 1,200 shackled prisoners were somehow able to free themselves from their cells, and then, defying all natural fears, shuffle their way unarmed through the middle of a vicious firefight, scramble over the bomb rubble and collectively disappear without suffering any casualties. Given the constant state of high alert in Kandahar City, how are we supposed to believe that these 1,200 shuffling, chained inmates made good their escape before any of the Afghan National Army or Afghan National Police rapid response teams could arrive to recapture them?

Instead of worrying about the inadequate thickness of Sarposa’s clay-brick walls, I think more attention needs to be paid to the probability of collusion by the prison guards in this instance. All is not as it seems in Afghanistan, and while $150 (US) a month for local policemen may be a hefty paycheque in a country where $300 is still the average annual income, there is an old proverb that “you cannot buy Afghan loyalty… you can only rent it.”