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– BAGRAM ESCAPE

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Bagram is a former Russian Air base about 45 km North of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. After operation Absolute Justice in 12/2001 USA Special Forces and CIA, in cooperation with the new Afghani regime, used some of the underground facilities of the air base as a “secret” jail for initial interrogation of Taliban and Al Qaeda suspects.

Many of the detainees of Guantanamo were kept for few months in Bagram detention center. The methods of interrogations included torture, were extremely harsh and some of the detainees died during their investigation.

On 07/11/2005 a group of senior Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees managed to escape Bagram Jail. The men were reported missing at about 5:00 am local time. Kabir Ahmad, chief of Bagram district, identified the escapees as the Syrian Abdullah Hashimi, Kuwaiti Mahmoud Ahmad Mohammad whose real name is Omar al-Farouq and is known also as Farouq al-Iraqi (from Iraq ) , Saudi Mahmoud Alfatahni and Libyan Mohammad Hassan al-Liby.   

 

It is unclear how the Islamic militants managed to escape the heavily guarded jail and found their way out over 200 meters through the heavily guarded military compound, where 12,000 NATO-ISAF troops were stationed at that time. It is most probable that the militants got help from the Afghani staff that served in Bagram.

According to a senior Afghami military official each of the prisoners who escaped was moved into cell 119 in the days before his escape after causing problems with other detainees. The main cells at Bagram are large wire cages that can be easily surveyed by guards patrolling the catwalks above them. Cell 119, by contrast, was somewhat apart and out of the way. It seems that the prisoners might have fabricated the disturbances to be moved together into Cell 119, the senior official said, “The investigation revealed credible factors that support this theory.”

On 05/13/2006 Mohammad Hassan al Liby published on the net the story of the successful escape from Bagram (which is probably only partially true) and a series of advices to other militants how to use his experience to facilitate their escape from jail.

The Bagram escape was a major embarrassment for Afghan and USA authorities but, in the longer ran, had no influence on the war on terror.

Following the Bagram escape conspiracy theories were distributed on the web. According to those theories there was no way that the militants really managed to flee so easily Bagram heavily guarded jail, located in the middle of vey large military compound unless they were deliberately freed by the CIA, under the cover of an audacious escape, in order to later spy after Al Qaeda. There is no evidence in any further development to support the conspiracy theories.

 

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