Two armed Pakistani inmates were holed up in Afghanistan's main prison Friday, after an escape attempt that left at least five people dead.

The head of the Pul-i-Charki prison in the Afghan capital, Kabul, says four inmates linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network began the uprising Friday. The four men, identified as one Iraqi and three Pakistanis, overpowered and killed a prison guard and seized his rifle, then killed two more guards.

Two of the original four prisoners died in a shootout. Reports from the scene say a shootout has been under way between the remaining two inmates and security forces surrounding the prison.

The prison, on the outskirts of Kabul, is used to house inmates held for criminal offenses. It is separate from detention facilities operated by the United States to house captured Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.