Update at 2:49 p.m. ET. Officers Found At Canadian Border:
After going missing over the weekend, three Afghan officers, who were being trained in the United States, were detained at the Canadian border, a Pentagon official tells NPR’s Tom Bowman.
The news was first reported by WCVB-TV’s Karen Anderson. She reported that the men told customs agents at the Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge that they were refugees.
The men, Anderson reports, will be sent back to the United States.
Our Original Post Continues:
Three Afghan army officers training in the U.S. went missing from a U.S. military base on Cape Cod over the weekend, days after two Afghan police officers disappeared during a DEA training program in Virginia.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says the men, who vanished during a training exercise at Camp Edwards in Sandwich, Mass., might be trying to find a way to stay in the United States.
“I don’t have a reason to believe that they pose a threat. They were vetted by the military; they were cleared by the military,” Patrick told reporters while he visited a preschool program in Quincy, The Associated Press reports.
The Boston Globe quotes Massachusetts National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. James Sahady as saying the three are senior military officers from Afghanistan and were cleared by the State Department to take part in the exercise on U.S. soil, which has been held annually since 2004. Sahady also said the men are not believed to pose a threat to the public.
The latest incident resembles one last week involving Mohammad Naweed Samimi, 24, and Mohammad Yasin Ataya, 22. The two Afghan police officers were at a Drug Enforcement Administration-supervised trip to Georgetown when they went missing last week. The two had been on a five-week training program with the agency in Quantico, Va. Officials, who would not say where the men were found, said they were being returned to Afghanistan along with their fellow trainees.
ABC 7 News quotes the DEA as saying, “The two men separated from the group and left because they did not want to go back to Afghanistan.”