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Afghan Prisoners Handing Over Dead, Wounded

KABUL, 27 February 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Inmates who yesterday seized part of a high-security jail outside the Afghan capital Kabul have reportedly agreed to hand over the bodies of three people, as well as 30 people with injuries.

Deputy Justice Minister Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai said ambulances were removing the dead and injured from the Pul-e Charkhi prison. Twenty of the injured needed hospitalization. It is still unclear how the casualties were caused.

It is also now unclear whether the protesting inmates, who are thought to include members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, will release women and children from a neighboring prison wing into which they broke on 25 February, the first day of the uprising.

The negotiations appeared to produce signs of progress late on 26 February, with the chief negotiator in the crisis, Sebghattullah Mujaddadi, saying the prisoners -- believed to number around 1,300 -- had agreed to temporarily halt violence during the night.

Supplies of food, water and electricity to the prison have been resumed.

Mujaddadi, the head of the government's reconciliation commission, told RFE/RL that the government could consider some of the prisoners' demands, but that many of them were impossible to satisfy. He said talks would continue tomorrow.

An RFE reporter said that, as night fell, the atmosphere around the prison was calm. He quotes a high-ranking military official as saying that 800 troops will remain around the jail overnight.

(with agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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