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65 Escaped Prisoners Recaptured in Afghanistan

Afghan policemen and armored NATO military vehicles stand guard close to the main prison in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 25, 2011

Officials say Afghan and international forces have recaptured 65 of nearly 500 inmates who escaped from a jail in southern Afghanistan, in a massive security breach claimed by the Taliban.

The prisoners, mostly Taliban militants, streamed out of Kandahar province's Sarposa prison overnight Sunday through a 300-meter long tunnel built over a five-month period.

On Tuesday, local officials said a joint Afghan and NATO force recaptured some of the escapees. Afghanistan's justice minister, Abibullah Ghalab, said it was likely that the prisoners escaped with help from guards or officials inside the jail.

Meanwhile, NATO announced Tuesday that its forces have killed the second most wanted insurgent in Afghanistan.

The coalition says that an April 13 airstrike in Kunar province killed Abu Hafs al-Najdi, also known as Abdul Ghani. NATO says Nadji's death "marks a significant milestone" in its efforts to disrupt al-Qaida.

NATO says the Saudi man was responsible for coordinating numerous high-profile attacks and used a network of insurgents to target security forces in the eastern province.
The coalition says Nadji also trained fighters to make explosive devices and organized al-Qaida finances.

The airstrike killed several other insurgents, including another al-Qaida leader whom NATO says frequently worked with Nadji to coordinate attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

Elsewhere in the east, officials say the governor of Paktia province, Juma Khan Hamdard, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy. Three police officers and a civilian were wounded in the blast.