Afghan officials said 540 prisoners, including some Taliban rebels, have escaped from Kandahar main prison through a 320-meter tunnel dug over five-month period, say reports.

The Taliban, which has claimed responsibility for the tunnel, said it avoided all government checkpoints while digging the tunnel and was able to finish it on Sunday, which opened the escape route for inmates.

This is the second time that the Taliban broke into the prison. In 2008, it gatecrashed into the same prison blowing open the gates and getting its insurgents out to freedom.