The situation remains tense in Afghanistan’s largest prison in the wake of a face-off between police force members and a number of prisoners on Tuesday which left four prisoners dead and 33 others, including 20 policemen, wounded.
Known as Pul-e-Charkhi prison, the facility is home for thousands of inmates with a visible number of them accused of drug smuggling and insurgent activities. Its is now three days that the security forces have lost control of parts of the prison where alleged drug smugglers are imprisoned.
Violence initially erupted inside the prison at around 4 pm Kabul time on Tuesday, May 14, when the Afghan police started searching some cells of the prison to collect their cellphones.
Clash reportedly erupted in the cell with those inmates who are accused of drug smuggling. The prison has eleven blocks. The attack started two prisoners from two different blocks.
Security forces have now surrounded the prison from four directions. New reports indicate that 107 prisoners were wounded during the violence and five inmates were killed.
“When they (security forces) entered the 4th block, the boys (inmates) said something to them, but they (police) hit on their heads,” said Mawlavi Rabbani, an inmate.
“They opened fire on us during this holy month of Ramadan. They used tear gas and committed all types of oppression,” said Gul Mohammad, a prisoner.
But security sources said that the prisoners keep several smartphones inside the cells and are committing illegal activities there.
“They undertake illegal activities with the help of their cellphones and conduct destructive activities,” said Ebadullah Karimi, head of the media department of Afghanistan’s prisons.
But how the prisoners manage to keep smartphones inside the prison?
“Keeping cellphone inside a cell is illegal, but the business is going on inside the prison and they sell it out through government employees,” said Kabir, a former Pul-e-Charkhi prisoner.
“It is impossible that an inmate gets access to a cell phone without the involvement of an officer or a soldier in the transfer of phone or sim card,” said Zalmay Zabuli, head of the Meshrano Jirga's complaints commission.
Those inmates wounded during the clash are under treatment government hospitals.
Similar incidents were reported in the past too.