KABUL (Dispatches) – Fighting between prisoners and Afghan policemen during a drug search operation in the country’s largest prison left four prisoners dead and several injured, a government official said on Tuesday.
Violent clashes erupted in two barracks of the sprawling Pul-e-Charkhi prison on the outskirts of Kabul, which houses thousands of inmates, including scores of Taliban militants and members of other hard-line groups.
Nasrat Rahimi, the spokesman for the interior ministry, said four prisoners were killed and 13 prisoners and 20 policemen were injured during the search operation to seize drugs and other illegal substances from the prisoners.
"Police faced resistance from drug traffickers. To disperse and control the angry prisoners, the policemen started shooting in the air but the prisoners engaged with the police and tried to get their weapons,” said Rahimi.
Last year, hundreds of inmates at the Pul-e-Charkhi went on a hunger strike to demand better conditions, but it remains overcrowded and lacking in basic infrastructure.
A day earlier, three bomb explosions struck Afghanistan’s eastern city of Jalalabad, killing at least three people and injuring 20 others, local officials say.
Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar, said on Monday that the blasts were caused by explosives placed in the crowded market square in the capital city of the troubled province, which is on the border with Pakistan.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. But the Taliban militant group has been active in the province. The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group is also present in the troubled region.
"The nature of explosions is not clear, but it could be IEDs," Nangarhar provincial spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, was quoted by AFP as saying, using the acronym for improvised explosive devices.
"So far we can confirm three people have been killed and 20 wounded," he added.
In recent years, Daesh has established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan. The terrorist group has mostly been populating Nangarhar, from where it has carried out high-profile brutal attacks at major population centers across the country.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan and toppled a ruling Taliban regime some 17 years ago. That ongoing war has failed to bring stability to the country despite the presence of thousands of foreign forces. Daesh, too, has more recently gained a foothold in Afghanistan.
Inmates and guards at a prison in Afghanistan are seen in this file photo.