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Clashes in Afghan prison leave four dead, dozens injured

KABUL (Reuters) - 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 insurgents and members of other hard-line Islamist 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.

Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi, editing by Larry King