Afghan soldiers go missing on trip to Cape Cod Mall

Three Afghan soldiers go missing: Afghan National Army officers are missing from a training exercise at a Cape Cod military base. The Afghan soldiers pose no threat to the public, US military officials said.

Police and military officials are searching for a second day for three Afghanistan National Army officers who went missing during a training exercise at a Cape Cod military base.

There were no details to report on the search, Lt. Col. James Sahady of the Massachusetts National Guard said Monday.

Sandwich Police Chief Peter Wack told The Cape Cod Times Monday morning that his department has gotten several calls from people and turned that information over to military security forces.

Police departments have been given little to go on by the military, Wack said. Officers don’t have photos of the three men to identify them, he said.

“Their information has been very generic, just attempt to locate and notify them if located,” Wack said.

U.S. military officials said the Afghan soldiers had been participating in a U.S. Central Command Regional Cooperation training exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod. They arrived at Camp Edwards on Sept. 11 and were last seen Saturday at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, an off day for the program.

The soldiers were reporting missing by base security personnel on Saturday night. They were identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar.

The Afghan soldiers pose no threat to the public, military officials said.

The Regional Cooperation training exercises have been held annually since 2004 to promote cooperation and interoperability among forces, build functional capacity, practice peacekeeping operations and enhance readiness.

This year's exercise, which involves more than 200 participants from six nations including the U.S., wraps up Wednesday. There are about a dozen more Afghan soldiers still participating in the exercise. Military officials from Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia are also participants.

Apparently, this isn't the first case of Afghan soldiers going AWOL during a US training trip. ABC News is reporting that two Afghan policemen went missing from training with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency in Washington, D.C., last weekend during a sightseeing trip to Georgetown. Those two officers were later found and apparently told authorities they did not want to return to their home country, according to the report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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