Five Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) officers–two policemen and three soldiers–went missing while participating in separate U.S.-based training programs. The Afghan policemen were found a week later outside D.C., and the three service members have now been located and are being detained at the Canadian border.
The three Afghan army service members, identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar, came to the U.S. on September 11 for a joint military training exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod in Massachusetts and disappeared on September 20. They were reported missing by base security personnel.
They had last been spotted at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, Massachusetts, according to ABC News, and FOX 25 in Boston reported that U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) took over the search. On Monday, they were taken into custody after attempting to cross the border into Canada.
U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Associated Press that the 14 soldiers who came to Cape Cod for training were “thoroughly vetted” before arriving in the United States. A CENTCOM official had told ABC News that the missing soldiers did not pose a threat to the public.
On September 19, ABC7 News (WJLA-TV) revealed that the two Afghan policemen, who had been missing in the D.C. area for about a week, had been found. They were identified as Mohammad Yasin Ataye and Mohd Gnawed Samimi, and were part of a group of 31 Afghan nationals who were participating in a DEA drug trafficking training program at Quantico, Virginia. They vanished while sightseeing in Georgetown under the supervision of the DEA.
The DEA told ABC7 News that the pair decided to leave because they did not want to return to their home country. They were sent back to Afghanistan, along with the other 31 Afghans.