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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 21:10 GMT
'Breakthrough' in Kabul jail riot
Kabul's Pul-e-Charkhi jail.
Security forces are not able to enter parts of the prison
Rioting inmates in Afghanistan's main prison near Kabul have agreed to hand over their dead and injured, amid signs of a breakthrough in the stand-off.

Officials say food and water supplies have resumed to the Pul-e-Charkhi top-security jail - where some 1,300 people are held, including Taleban.

At least four inmates have died since riots began on Saturday, officials say. The protesters have issued a list of demands, including better conditions and talks with high-level officials.

Security forces are surrounding the jail, parts of which are still controlled by inmates.

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Officials said the negotiators reached a deal with the rioters. Injured inmates are to be taken to hospital and the dead buried.

They also said there were signs that talks to end the stand-off were making headway.

"The food, water and electricity have been restored," Afghanistan prison chief Abdul Salaam Bakshi said.

We can take all these prisoners in one hour, but to prevent bloodshed we are trying to negotiate
Deputy Justice Minister Mohammed Qasim Hashimzai

"For the time being, I am optimistic. Everything is quiet. Let's see what happens tomorrow (Tuesday)," he said.

One of the chief negotiators said he would be taking the prisoners' demands to the government and that he was hopeful of a peaceful solution.

Gunfire was heard within the prison walls on Saturday night and Sunday, but the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says the situation was calmer on Monday, with only two gun shots heard, and fewer troops at the scene.

Taleban and al-Qaeda members as well as ordinary criminals are involved in the uprising, officials have said.

Inmates are reported to be armed with knives and makeshift clubs, but not guns.

Notorious prison

A mediator told the BBC that the four dead inmates included a Pakistani and a Tajik. She did not say how they died.

Pul-e-Charkhi  prison near Kabul

Deputy Justice Minister Mohammed Qasim Hashimzai said on Monday that force would be used if necessary to end the rebellion.

Hundreds of prisoners remain barricaded inside the women's wing.

Senior jail officials say they fear some of the women inmates may have been raped.

Trouble apparently started on Saturday evening after a change in prison uniform rules.

Pul-e-Charkhi is a huge prison complex built in the 1970s on the outskirts of the capital.

Correspondents say the vast and run-down jail is notorious for the disappearance and torture of thousands of Afghans during the communist era.

Last month, seven Taleban suspects escaped from the jail, with prison guards accused by officials of helping the break-out.


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See the soldiers and artillery surrounding the jail



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