By Ray Fleming

EVEN if it were permissible to consider a film version of the Great Kandahar Escape no one would countenance the idea for more than a few seconds because this escape lacked any of the suspense that such films require.

There was no tension between prisoners and their guards because the latter knew nothing of what was happening beneath their feet and took no steps to find out.

President Karsai's spokesman got it right when he called the escape of 500 Taliban fighters “A blow, something that should not have happened...It shows the great vulnerability of the Afghan Government.”

This demonstration of the incompetence and unreliability of the Afghanistan security services may prove to be a turning point in relations between American and NATO forces and President Karsai. If the effort involved in destroying the threat from the Taliban and of building reliable local security services can be undone as easily as it was at Kandahar prison on Sunday night the time must surely have come to ask whether this huge, prolonged effort by the west to put Afghanistan on an even keel is worth the cost, effort and loss of life involved. NATO's major military offensive in the next two months will now face a Taliban strengthened by the middle rank leaders who walked out of Kandahar prison.