Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Inmates agree to halt violence; authorities restore food, water

February 28, 2006

Advertisement

— Rebellious inmates at Kabul's main prison agreed Monday to halt violence, and authorities said they restored supplies of water, electricity and food to the prisoners after four people were killed and 38 wounded in the two-day uprising.

The supplies were withheld late Sunday from the roughly 2,000 prisoners in the facility, including women and their children, even though the violence was blamed only on some 350 Taliban and al-Qaida detainees.

Although the agreement to stop rioting was only temporary, officials said they were optimistic about a breakthrough in negotiations with the inmates.

"The food, water and electricity has been restored. For the time being, I am optimistic. Everything is quiet. Let's see what happens tomorrow," said Abdul Salaam Bakshi, chief of prisons in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of police and soldiers circled the sprawling Policharki jail on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, Kabul, in tanks and with other heavy weapons late Sunday.

Gunfire rang out from inside the facility until late Monday, when news broke of progress in the talks. Within hours, truckloads of police withdrew.

The prisoners are believed armed with small knives and clubs, but do not have guns.

Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, the chief government negotiator, said prisoners told him that "they would not launch any more attacks right now."

A soldier of the Afghan National Army stands guard as the relatives of prisoners wait outside the Policharki Prison in Kabul, Afghanistan , Monday, Feb. 27, 2006. Security forces with tanks and heavy guns surrounded Kabul's main prison Monday, as authorities sought to resume negotiations with rioting prisoners but warned they could use force.

A soldier of the Afghan National Army stands guard as the relatives of prisoners wait outside the Policharki Prison in Kabul, Afghanistan , Monday, Feb. 27, 2006. Security forces with tanks and heavy guns surrounded Kabul's main prison Monday, as authorities sought to resume negotiations with rioting prisoners but warned they could use force.

"I promised them I would do my best to solve their problems, and they trust me," he told reporters outside the prison.

Mujaddedi said the negotiators reached an agreement with the prisoners for the wounded inmates to be taken to a hospital, but it was not clear when this would happen. He also said prison authorities were asked to help bury the dead.

During talks, the prisoners made a range of demands, including amnesty for an unspecified number of inmates, Mujaddedi said.

Mohammed Qasim Hashimzai, the deputy justice minister, said before Monday's negotiations started that he wanted to end the standoff peacefully, but warned that the government could use force.

Violence erupted late Saturday after prisoners refused to put on new uniforms, delivered in response to a breakout last month by seven Taliban prisoners who had disguised themselves.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.