File photo shows Afghan security forces on patrol.
More than a dozen inmates have escaped from a prison in Afghanistan’s northern province of Sar-e-Pol, raising doubts about the security situation of the country.
The jailbreak occurred overnight on Thursday when a number of prisoners, including criminals and members of the Taliban, managed to run away, the Associated Press reported.
Governor Abdul Jabar Haqbeen said a bomb was detonated on the outside of a prison wall after which the prisoners escaped through the ruins.
Prison guards opened fire on the prisoners on the run, killing three inmates, Haqbeen added.
The governor said many have been recaptured but the authorities are still searching for 14 prisoners who remain at large.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosion that ripped through the prison wall. Abdul Ghani, a member of the provincial council, claimed the bomb was made by prisoners inside the compound and was blown up near a prison tower.
The incident comes amid a surge in Taliban-linked violence in Afghanistan.
The Taliban militants had earlier announced the beginning of their "spring offensive" across the war-weary country, saying the primary targets of the offensive -- code-named al-Farouq -- are "foreign invaders, their advisors, their contractors, and all those who help them militarily and with intelligence."
Insecurity continues to rise across Afghanistan despite the presence of about 130,000 foreign forces, with the swelling military death toll in Afghanistan giving rise to opposition in the United States and other NATO member states against the protracted war in the country.