Inmates riot at high-security Kabul prison
Updated: 2006-02-26 14:31
KABUL, Afghanistan - Inmates
have seized control of parts of a high-security prison holding al-Qaida and
Taliban militants in Kabul, official said Sunday.
The prisoners forced guards out of a block at Policharki Prison after a
failed escape attempt Saturday night, said Abdul Salaam Bakshi, chief of prisons
in Afghanistan. The prison holds 1,300 inmates, including al-Qaida and Taliban
An Associated Press photographer outside Policharki heard a short burst of
gunfire Sunday morning. A few minutes later, an ambulance carrying an
unidentified patient drove out of the prison.
Earlier, Bakshi said police had the prison surrounded and no inmates had
broken out. He accused al-Qaida and Taliban inmates of inciting other prisoners.
"All the problem is inside the prison. It's 1,300 people. We want to
peacefully solve this problem," he said.
Mohammed Qasim Hashimzai, deputy justice minister, said about 100 of the
prisoners had taken control of a women's wing of the prison. Hashimzai was part
of a ministry delegation that was set to visit the prison Sunday morning.
"They have demands, we are going to listen to what they want," he said,
Bakshi said a group of inmates had attacked guards Saturday night and tried
to force their way out but were blocked. Inmates had small knives and clubs
fashioned from wrecked furniture, he said.
No guards were hurt but there were unconfirmed reports that several prisoners
were injured, he said.
Policharki lies on the outskirts of the Afghan capital. Some wings of the
prison are being refurbished to improve security and living conditions before
some 110 Afghan terror suspects being held in U.S. military custody at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are sent back here later this year, Afghan officials say.
Last month, seven mid-ranking Taliban inmates disguised themselves as
visitors and escaped from the prison.