The three Afghanistan National Army officers who went missing during a training exercise at a Cape Cod military base on Saturday were located Monday afternoon near the Canadian border.
A law enforcement told source that the three soldiers were taken into custody early Monday afternoon attempting to cross into Canada.
U.S. military officials said the Afghan soldiers had been participating in a U.S. Central Command Regional Cooperation training exercise in peacekeeping 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 State Department, Central Command, Massachusetts State Police and local police were involved in a search for the soldiers.
The soldiers, who are in the country on visas, were at the mall at a chaperoned event to introduce them to American culture, according to a CentCom official, when they disappeared.
Pentagon officials told source the officers were not required to surrender their passports, so they could still have them. Local law enforcement officials were given photos of the soldiers.
The Afghan soldiers posed 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.
Earlier this month, two Afghan police officers who were training with the DEA vanished while on a trip to Washington. The police officers were located in Buffalo.
Source affiliate WIVB in Buffalo reports the police officer duo told officials they just wanted a better life. They will be returning to Afghanistan.