Three Missing Afghan Soldiers Found

WASHINGTON (Tribune Washington Bureau/MCT) -
Vehicles are stopped by security personnel as they enter a gate Monday, to Camp Edwards, Mass., on Cape Cod. Police and military officials were searching Monday for three soldiers from the Afghanistan National Army who went missing Saturday during a training exercise at the base.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Vehicles are stopped by security personnel as they enter a gate Monday, to Camp Edwards, Mass., on Cape Cod. Police and military officials were searching Monday for three soldiers from the Afghanistan National Army who went missing Saturday during a training exercise at the base. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Three Afghan soldiers who went missing while in Massachusetts for military training have been found trying to cross the border into Canada, a Defense Department official said Monday.

“I can confirm that the Canadians have them,” the official said.

The Afghan officers were reported missing late Saturday after a trip to a shopping mall in Hyannis, Mass., about 20 miles from Joint Base Cape Cod, where they were involved in a training exercise.

Earlier this month, two Afghan police officers disappeared from a Drug Enforcement Administration training program in Quantico, Va., and were found several days later in that area.

In each case, the Afghans were part of a chaperoned group that was taken to see U.S. sights and culture, officials said. Both groups were vetted by U.S. officials before they were allowed into the United States.

“There is no indication they pose any threat to the public,” the military said of the three officers.

The three were identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Capt. Noorullah Aminy. They arrived at Joint Base Cape Cod on Sept. 11.

In addition to Afghanistan, personnel also arrived from Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

The training, known as Exercise Regional Cooperation 2014, is one of a series of annual events, sponsored by the U.S. Central Command.

The visitors get days off, such as Saturday, the military said.

The Afghans were taken to the mall to sight-see and observe aspects of U.S. culture.

They had been vetted before they arrived and found to be clear of all criminal ties.