Deadly prison siege over

A deadly prison siege in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, which left five dead and injured 23 prisoners, ended on Wednesday after authorities took control of the notorious jail, officials said.

The riot began late on Saturday in a block of the Pul-e-Charkhi prison on the eastern outskirts of the capital after prisoners refused to put on new uniforms, delivered in response to a breakout last month by seven Taliban prisoners who had disguised themselves as visitors.

The jail is home to more than 1,300 inmates, including about 350 Al-Qaeda and Taliban members.

"The problem is over and security forces are in full control of the prison,” Deputy Justice Minister Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai told reporters at a press conference in Kabul.

Troops backed by tanks and armoured personnel carriers surrounded the jail after the riot broke out. The last group of inmates to surrender to the authorities were about 100 Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, now confined to separate, higher-security quarters, according to officials. Police identified a Taliban commander who led the unrest as Mullah Shahidzai.

According to officials, those killed include one Pakistani and one Tajik national who were being held in connection with Al-Qaeda and Taliban terror acts.

Pul-e-Charkhi prison was built in the 1970s and is notorious for the disappearance and torture of thousands of Afghans during the communist era. Part of the jail is under renovation ahead of the expected arrival of some 110 Afghan terror suspects later this year from the US military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Afghan officials say.

In December 2004, four inmates and four guards died during a 10-hour standoff that started when Al-Qaeda prisoners used razors to wrest guns from guards in an attempt to break out.