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Up to 30 hurt in riot at notorious Afghan prison

Written by: Staff
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KABUL, Feb 26 (Reuters) Up to 30 people were wounded during a riot by prisoners, including Taliban members, at a notorious jail in the Afghan capital, officials said today.

The unrest erupted last night after a group of prisoners managed to hold two female guards captive over a row over change of prison uniform rules, they said.

''As far as we know some 1,500 prisoners are involved in this incident,'' a security official told Reuters on condition he wasn't identified.

''It went out of control and a clash broke out between the prisoners including many Taliban and the police, in which 30 people have been wounded,'' he said.

Deputy justice minister Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai said some people were wounded, but had no details.

Footage by private television showed police reinforcements being sent to the Pul-i-Charkhi prison on the eastern outskirts of the city.

Repeated gun fire could be heard and officials said that prisoners took control of one wing of the jail during the riot.

Chief of Kabul's Rapid Reaction Police Force, General Mahboub Amiri, blamed Taliban members for triggering the riot in an attempt to flee.

Pul-e-Charkhi is a huge prison complex built in the 1970s where thousands of Afghans opposing communist rule in the 1980s were killed and tortured.

It is used to house common criminals as well as al-Qaeda or Taleban-linked militants.

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

REUTERS SB RN1257

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