Source: Pakistani soldiers deployed to prevent jailbreak

Pakistani policemen guard the central prison in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on July 30, 2013.

Story highlights

  • Soldiers sent to Peshawar's central prison, intelligence source says
  • Move comes week after Taliban freed 250 prisoners at different Pakistani prison
  • Peshawar prison holds doctor accused of helping U.S. find Osama bin Laden
  • Prison also holds high-profile Taliban militants
Pakistani soldiers have been sent to a prison in northern Pakistan amid concerns that militants might try to release high-profile prisoners, according to a senior Pakistani intelligence source who spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday.
The prisoners at Peshawar's central prison include high-profile Pakistani-Taliban militants as well as Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani physician accused of helping the United States find al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden prior to his death two years ago.
Officials received intelligence indicating that militants could be planning a jailbreak there, security sources said on condition of anonymity.
The senior intelligence source said the army deployed soldiers to the Peshawar prison at the invitation of provincial authorities.
Bolstering security at the Peshawar prison comes about a week after Taliban gunmen freed about 250 inmates -- including about 35 high-profile militants -- from a prison in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, about 185 miles (300 kilometers) south of Peshawar, authorities said.
About 40 inmates were recaptured by Wednesday, but all of the high-profile militants remained on the loose, a prison official said on condition of anonymity last week.
Since the Dera Ismail Khan jailbreak, intelligence agencies have warned that more attacks on Pakistani jails holding high-profile prisoners could occur.
The Pakistani prison break and a series of similar incidents linked to al Qaeda that freed convicted or suspected terrorists in Iraq and Libya were factors in the U.S. decision to close embassies and consulates this week across Africa and the Middle East and issue a worldwide travel alert.
Pakistani authorities accused Afridi of working with the CIA to set up a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad to try verify bin Laden's whereabouts. U.S. special forces killed the al Qaeda leader at an Abbottabad compound in May 2011.
Afridi was convicted of treason in Pakistan and is serving a 33-year sentence.
Pakistani-Taliban inmates at the Peshawar facility include the group's former spokesman, Muslim Khan, and a number of high-ranking commanders from Swat and Bajaur.