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Apr 18, 4:10 AM EDT

Officials: Taliban inmates escape Afghan prison using smuggled gun, grenades; 3 guards killed

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- An official says three Taliban insurgents escaped from a prison in northern Afghanistan using weapons smuggled into the facility in a jailbreak that killed three police guards.

A spokesman for the Faryab provincial government, Ahmad Jawad Dedar, said on Friday that the breakout took place the previous night. A fourth inmate who was also trying to escape was killed in a shootout with security forces.

Dedar says the fugitives are low-level Taliban operatives who were jailed for planting roadside bombs.

The four inmates launched their breakout during the nightly count of prisoners, throwing several grenades and shooting guards with at least one pistol.

Dedar said authorities have launched a search for the three fugitives and are investigating how the weapons were smuggled into the prison.

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