DHS Leads Search for Afghan Trainees Gone Missing from GA Air Force Base

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with the State Department, is leading the efforts to locate two Afghan men who were reported missing after they failed to show up for U.S. military training Monday at a base in southern Georgia, Air Force Lt. Col. Chris Karns said Friday.

Authorities have identified the Afghan nationals as Mirwais Kohistani and Shirzad Rohullah, reports USA Today. They were part of a group 23 Afghans who came to the United States in February for training at the Moody Air Force Base (AFB) near Valdosta, Georgia.

The names and passports of the men were released as part of a federal investigation to track them, reports Daily Mail.

Air Force officials maintain that there is no evidence that the men pose a threat. According to the Air Force, which was in charge of training them, both men were screened before entering the United States.

“Two male Afghan air force students did not report for duty yesterday at their regular maintenance training at Moody AFB in Valdosta, Georgia. Both are assigned to the 81st Fighter Squadron,” said Moody AFB officials in a statement released Tuesday. “They have been at Moody since February 2015 and were screened prior to their arrival in the United States more than a year ago.”

“The students have trained alongside American counterparts for the entirety of 2015 and do not pose any apparent threat,” added the statement. “There is a well-coordinated process among federal agencies to locate the individuals as quickly as possible and return them accordingly to the proper authorities to manage their present situation.”

On Thursday, Moody AFB officials reportedly stressed that the Afghan men still do not pose a threat, although efforts to locate them have been intensified.

It remains unknown why the men went AWOL. Other members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), which includes military and police units, have gone missing while training in the United States.

One of them was granted asylum by the United States in January. He was one of five ANDSF officers—two policemen and three soldiers—who went missing in September 2014 while participating in separate training programs in the United States.

The policemen were eventually found outside D.C., and the three service members were taken into custody at the Canadian border. In January of this year, one of the three Afghan soldiers was granted asylum by the United States.


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