New Afghan soldiers training at Georgia bases are missing

3 Afghan soldiers AWOL in Georgia

FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Three more Afghan soldiers training in Georgia have gone missing officials confirmed to 11Alive, Thursday.

There are now seven total missing military students in September from bases across the U.S.

Now 11Alive is speaking with government officials on continuing efforts to locate these missing soldiers.

The three missing from Georgia came to Fort Benning and Fort Gordon. They were part of a Pentagon training program that works with America’s allies.

And this is not the first time Afghan soldiers from this effort have taken off.

The U.S. Department of Defense said seven, overall, went missing while in the U.S. in September.

Four of them disappeared over Labor Day weekend. Two were from Fort Benning near Columbus, Ga., one other apparently left a base in Virginia and still another from Arkansas.

The weekend of Sept. 17 and 18 was when three more took off.

Two were in Missouri and a third came from Georgia’s Fort Gordon near Augusta.

These soldiers are international military students. A video on Fort Benning’s website shows soldiers from other countries working with the U.S. military.

“Great experience, tactics, information, planning, critical thinking,” an Iraqi soldier says in the video -  his face hidden.

The idea is to train allied soldiers to help with conflicts in other parts of the world.

“it is important to note that the majority of Afghans who train in the U.S. successfully complete their training and return to their country,” Commander Patrick Evans from the U.S. Navy Defense Press Operations said. “However, there have been occasions where IMSOs have learned of plans to go AWOL. In some of those cases, those students have been returned immediately to their country.”

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation is aware of the situation and is actively working to locate these individuals in coordination with the State Department and the Department of Defense.

ICE and the Department of Defense won’t say anything else.

In previous cases, though, soldiers like this have fled trying to avoid having to go back to Afghanistan.

(© 2016 WXIA)


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