More than 470 Afghan prisoners have broken out of jail through an escape tunnel dug by Taliban insurgents underneath the prison walls.
The breakout happened at Kandahar Prison, which is meant to be one of the country’s highest security jails.
Confirming the breakout, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman Waheed Omer insisted an investigation would be held.
“We are looking into finding out what exactly happened and what’s being done to compensate for the disaster that happened in the prison in Kandahar,” he said.
The Taliban said 541 inmates had escaped but a local provincial governor said 478 had fled their cells.
The jailbreak is the second major escape from the prison in the past three years.
In June 2008, a man blew himself up at the prison gates under the cover of darkness, destroying a nearby checkpoint and freeing up to 1,000 prisoners.