Eight die as inmates fight with troops at Afghan jail

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The Independent Online

A bloody prison uprising ended with Afghan soldiers gunning down four suspected al-Qa'ida fighters after a 10-hour battle inside Kabul's most notorious jail.

A bloody prison uprising ended with Afghan soldiers gunning down four suspected al-Qa'ida fighters after a 10-hour battle inside Kabul's most notorious jail.

Inmates killed four guards yesterday and seized an AK-47 rifle before firing at the soldiers, who were backed up by German Nato troops and hundreds of police surrounding Pul-e Charki jail on the outskirts of the Afghan capital.

Several Afghan National Army personnel were wounded by the four prisoners; three Pakistanis and an Iraqi. Two inmates died in the initial stages of the battle; the others, who took over a wing of the jail, were killed after dozens of troops launched an assault with rocket-propelled grenades.

The prison's warden, Abdul Salam Bakhshi, said the uprising began when the four prisoners overwhelmed a guard as they were being led to morning prayers, stabbing him with a razor and killing three other guards with his AK-47. Several police officers and soldiers were wounded, and at least two other prisoners were injured in crossfire.

The four inmates had fought alongside the Taliban and al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan in 2001. The warden said that the four, believed to have been low-level fighters, had been released then re-arrested in Kabul earlier this year for unspecified crimes.

Police speculated that the prisoners may have been trying to kill three Americans, jailed for operating a vigilante operation, who are held in the same block.

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