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Inmate Dies as Riots Resume in Afghan Prison

Police fired at inmates trying to push down a gate at Kabul's main jail as about 2,000 prisoners resumed rioting Tuesday after a 24-hour pause in violence. One inmate died and three were wounded in the renewed fighting, police said.

The clashes restarted after negotiations broke down, said Abdul Halik, a police commander in the prison. He said authorities had urged the prisoners to move into a different wing of the jail but the inmates refused.

"The prisoners have tried to break down the door to their block and the police opened fire," Halik said. It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

He said the prisoners then retreated inside the building. Even if the prisoners had managed to flee their block, they would still have been inside the prison compound and a tall wall would have prevented them from escaping outside.

A purported spokesman for the prisoners, who identified himself only by the name Maqsodi, told The Associated Press by mobile phone from inside the jail that the prisoners refused to move because living conditions were no better in the new block.

Policharki Prison was built in the 1970s and is notorious for harsh and crowded conditions.

Violence erupted late Saturday 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. On Monday, a government negotiator said on Monday that four inmates had died and 38 were wounded in the standoff. That toll did not include the latest casualties reported by police.

Police have blamed about 350 Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees for inciting the riot.

Seventeen of the most seriously wounded prisoners were rushed to a hospital earlier Tuesday along with the bodies of the four dead, after the prisoners agreed to halt the violence temporarily, said Gen. Zamarai, the Afghan army commander in charge of security at the jail.

Authorities restored supplies of water, electricity and food to the prisoners late Monday after progress appeared to be made in negotiations. A tanker truck carrying water and another vehicle loaded with potatoes and rice were seen driving into the compound on the outskirts of the capital, Kabul.

The supplies were withheld late Sunday from the roughly 2,000 prisoners. There are about 70 women held at the prison and about 70 children live with them.