Herat's central jail is headed for a humanitarian disaster within six months if the severe overcrowding is not addressed, officials said Sunday.
The jail has the capacity for 500 prisoners, but currently has more than 2500, Afghanistan's West Zone Prison Commander Gen. Shah Mir Amirpor told TOLOnews.
Amirpor warned that if the situation does not change, there will be as many as 800 detainees suffering from various diseases as a direct result of the terrible conditions they are living in.
"We have about eight hundred people kept in an completely closed place with no windows and no vents - there is definitely no way that air can be getting to the prisoners," Amirpor said.
The head of the provincial council warned that with the scale of the overcrowding, thousands may be affected.
"The Herat prison situation is extreme. It's in a really bad situation. If it continues like this, we could witness of humanitarian disaster in the prison," Herat council chief Abdul Zahir Faizada told TOLOnews.
Meanwhile, 234 prisoners were released from Herat jail on Sunday as per the Presidential pardon for Eid and Afghanistan Independence Day.
Herat Attorney General officials said that those released under the decree were only some of those convicted of minor offenses and some kidnappers. Those convicted of any terrorist attacks were not granted dispensation.
The move was criticised by Herat's Head of Appeals Court Abdul Ghafar Zabeer who said that to effectively fight kidnapping in the province, there should not be any reduction of a kidnapper's penalty.
"We previously proposed to the provincial authority and to the President that those convicted of kidnapping should not be included in this decree of the President," Zabeer told TOLOnews.