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Afghan prison attack stirs tensions with Pakistan

President Hamid Karzai threatened Sunday to send troops to Pakistan to fight militants themselves.

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened for the first time Sunday to send troops into Pakistan to fight militants, raising Afghanistan's longtime criticism of its neighbor for not stopping cross-border attacks to a new level.

President Karzai's statement came as NATO and Afghan forces continued hunting for 870 prisoners – including some 400 Taliban militants – who escaped Friday after a spectacular assault on a high-security prison in Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan.

The prison break did not negate overall advances in security but could hurt public confidence, NATO spokesperson Mark Laity told the Monitor.

The incident did prompt the strongest rhetoric yet from Karzai, who like many Afghan officials has long blamed Pakistan for the insurgency in their country, claiming that Pakistan helps insurgents by providing them a haven if not actively supporting them.

Because militants come from Pakistan "to come and kill Afghan and kill coalition troops, it exactly gives us the right to do the same," Karzai said at a press conference Sunday.


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