Canadian forces and other NATO troops have been deployed to Kandahar after the main prison in the southern Afghan city was attacked by militants, setting all prisoners free.
Maj. Jay Janzen, a spokesman for the Canadian Forces, said troops were on the scene and had established a security perimeter in the vicinity.
"We believe the situation is under control,” Janzen said, without elaborating on the details.
Around 10 p.m., Taliban insurgents drove a car filled with explosives up to Sarposa prison's main gate and detonated it, destroying the gate and killing all police officers in the vicinity, the CBC's Paul Hunter reported from Kandahar.
Afghan officials also said Taliban insurgents fired several rockets at parts of the prison.
A Taliban spokesman said 30 insurgents on motorbikes and two suicide bombers attacked the prison. Qari Yousef Ahmadi also claimed that hundreds of Taliban prisoners were freed in the assault.
"All the prisoners escaped. There is no one left," said Wali Karzai, president of Kandahar's provincial council and the brother of President Hamid Karzai.
About 1,170 inmates were believed to have been in the prison and may now be roaming the streets of Kandahar City, said Hunter.
Canadian Forces are in command of Kandahar and most of the roughly 2,500 Canadian troops in Afghanistan are stationed there.
The prison, the largest detention facility in Kandahar province, housed both common criminals and captured Taliban militants who had been fighting NATO troops and the Afghan government.
"It's a big blow. It's a very significant development," said CBC's Susan Ormiston, who visited the prison last April.
Suspected Taliban members detained by Canadian soldiers and turned over to Afghanistan officials are sent to the prison, located in the outskirts of the city.
Canada has spent $1 million on improvements to the facility, including new cell blocks and new windows.
Ormiston said Canadian officials were hoping the prison would become a model for other prisons in the region.
Ouch, I hope this will not affect the moral of the troops too much.