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27 May 2011 - Media release

INTERPOL issues global alert for hundreds of Afghan jailbreak fugitives

LYON, France - An international security alert, or Orange Notice, has been issued by INTERPOL at the request of its National Central Bureau (NCB) in Kabul for 417 dangerous prisoners, including members of the Taliban, who escaped from an Afghan prison last month.

During the night of 24 April, the Taliban broke out the prisoners from the Sarposa prison in Kandahar through a tunnel constructed from outside the prison perimeter fence into the prison interior. INTERPOL said the jailbreak constituted a major threat to global security.

Following the escape, information on the fugitive prisoners was provided through an already existing programme between INTERPOL's General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon and its National Central Bureau in Washington which provides for information-sharing on terrorism-related issues.

"Today's alert will strongly help mobilize efforts by Afghanistan and the international community to finding these fugitives by disseminating identifying information on them," said INTERPOL's Director for Operational Support, Mick O'Connell.

"The authorities in Afghanistan and INTERPOL's National Central Bureaus in Kabul and Washington are therefore to be commended for their role in sharing vital identifying information with INTERPOL's global network, and in instilling best practice standards when it comes to jailbreaks involving prisoners who pose a significant security risk to the international community," added Mr O'Connell.

At the request of INTERPOL's National Central Bureau in Kabul, INTERPOL's Command and Co-ordination Centre at its General Secretariat has issued the Orange notice to all INTERPOL 188 member countries and made it public to further assist police to identify, locate and arrest the fugitives as Afghan authorities work with INTERPOL and international law enforcement to fully investigate the escape.

All NCBs have been requested to circulate the Orange Notice – which can be issued by INTERPOL's General Secretariat or a National Central Bureau for any act or event which poses a risk to the safety and security of citizens around the world – to all relevant national and migration authorities.

A resolution underlining the need for member countries to alert the General Secretariat to prison escapes of suspected terrorists and other dangerous criminals was adopted at the INTERPOL General Assembly in 2006.