Violence in Afghan prison: 1 dead

A spasm of violence broke a fragile truce at Kabul's main prison Tuesday as rioting inmates tried to push down a gate and police fired on them, killing one and wounding three, officials said. An American prisoner said inmates had threatened his life.

Outside the jail, women beat the ground as their children wailed, fearful that loved ones in the facility have been killed in the three-day standoff.

At least five inmates have been killed and 41 wounded since the uprising began late Saturday. Police blame some 350 Taliban and al-Qaida detainees for inciting the riot.

The two sides agreed to a truce late Monday, but the deal collapsed 24 hours later over a demand by authorities that inmates move to another wing of the lockup, said Abdul Halik, a police commander.

The inmates refused, saying conditions in the new block were no better than the current one. They then tried to break down a gate leading into a courtyard where hundreds of police and soldiers have taken up positions, he said.

Security forces opened fire, killing an inmate and wounding three others until the prisoners, armed with knives and clubs, withdrew, the commander said. Dozens of police reinforcements rushed to the prison, but the fighting was over within minutes.

Security forces who have surrounded the prison on the outskirts of the Afghan capital on Wednesday prevented journalists from approaching closer than about a half mile. Afghan officials said it was "quiet" inside, and there was no sound of gunfire.

An American prisoner, Edward Caraballo, of New York, said the prisoners had threatened him on Tuesday but had since backed off.

"Hopefully the situation will quiet down so I can walk out of here," he told The Associated Press by cell phone. "I just want to get out of here," reports the AP.

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