walk toward an entrance to the Cape Cod Mall, Monday, Sept.
22, 2014, in Hyannis, Mass. Police and military officials
were searching for three soldiers from the Afghanistan
National Army who went missing Saturday during a training
exercise at a Cape Cod military base. The three Afghanistan
National Army officers were detained Monday at the
U.S.-Canadian border, Massachusetts law enforcement
BOSTON — Three
Afghanistan National Army officers who went missing during a
training exercise at a Cape Cod military base were detained Monday
at the U.S.-Canadian border, Massachusetts law enforcement
state police were notified that the three were being questioned by
federal authorities at Rainbow Bridge, which connects Niagara
Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, said spokesman David
Procopio, who did not have further details.
There was no
immediate comment from the Pentagon.
U.S. Customs and
Border Protection officials in Niagara Falls said they didn't have
the men in custody. Messages left for Canada Border Services
Agency weren't immediately returned.
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 during an
The soldiers were
reported missing by base security personnel Saturday night. They
were identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir
Askarzada and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar.
Patrick, who had been briefed over the weekend on the situation,
said earlier Monday that the military did not believe the three
soldiers posed a danger to the public.
vetted by the military. They were cleared by the military,"
Patrick told reporters while he visited a preschool program in
"There is a
lot of speculation within the military that they may be trying to
defect," he said.
Army Col. Steve
Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said earlier that 14 Afghans taking
part in the Cape Cod military exercise were "thoroughly
vetted" prior to coming to the U.S., so officials do not
believe they are a threat.
Cooperation training exercises have been held annually since 2004
to promote cooperation and interoperability among forces, build
functional capacity, practice peacekeeping operations and enhance
exercise, which involves more than 200 participants from six
nations including the U.S., is scheduled to wrap up Wednesday.
Military officials from Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and
Mongolia are also participants.
state police considered it to be a missing persons case, because
there was no information that any crimes had been committed.
On Thursday, two
members of an elite Afghan police unit were picked up in the
Buffalo, New York-area after going missing from a five-week
training program they had been attending with 29 other police
officers in Quantico, Virginia
Rusty Payne, a
spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said the
police officers were being returned to Afghanistan on Monday. The
rest of the class left as scheduled on Friday.
The two were
reported missing after failing to show up for a boat excursion on
the Potomac River last week. Payne would not say how they were
tracked to Buffalo and did not provide details about where and
when they were picked up.
held and returned. They were not a security threat, not a danger.
They were not armed. They were just looking for a better
life," Payne said.
provided during excursions from the base, he added, but the
officers were not being monitored at all times during their U.S.