The new report on the number of missing Afghan trainees draws attention to the current policy that obviously needs to be changed. The terror risk is bad enough and the cost to train these soldier is HUGE. Remember when Obama was famously called out for the outrageous cost per trainee? Reuters reported in October of 2016 that Washington has allocated more than $60 billion since 2002 to train and equip Afghan troops. This is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Immigration agents say they’re “worried” about the terror risk with these AWOL trainees.
While other foreign troops on U.S. military training visits have sometimes run away, a U.S. defense official said that the frequency of Afghan troops going missing was concerning and “out of the ordinary.”
More than 150 Afghan troops brought to the U.S. for military training have gone AWOL since 2005, with 13 of them still unaccounted for and perhaps living as here illegal immigrants now, an inspector general said in a new report Friday.
Part of the problem is that the U.S. never puts the trainees through an in-person interview and exempts them from registering as aliens when they arrive — both steps that other visitors would normally have to go through.
In-person interviews and requiring the troops to register beforehand would help the government gauge whether someone is likely to go absent without leave, and would give immigration officers information about relatives in the U.S. as starting points when someone does go AWOL, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said.
But the State Department rejected those suggestions.
The audit said that while no acts of terrorism have yet been traced to the trainees, immigration agents say they’re worried because a number who go AWOL end up trying to claim asylum in the U.S., stymieing any national security investigation into their behavior.
Beyond the potential danger, American taxpayers also miss out on the investment in the troops, the inspector general said.
“It is clear that Afghan trainees go AWOL while in the United States at a far higher rate than do trainees from any other country, and we believe that the State Department (as well as other government agencies) should use all the tools at their disposal to reduce these occurrences and ensure that Afghan trainees return to Afghanistan and make use of the substantial U.S. taxpayer investment in training,” the audit concluded.
The number of troops going AWOL surged in 2015 and 2016 as security back home deteriorated.
Some Afghan troops currently being trained in the U.S. said the Taliban threatened their families back home once it became known they had a relative training here. Many of them said the training made them bigger targets when they returned.
Investigators identified 152 Afghan trainees who have gone absent without leave under the training program. Seventy of them fled the U.S., 39 managed to obtain legal status here, three returned to duty, 27 were arrested and put in deportation proceedings, and 13 remain unaccounted for.
The largest number disappeared from training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, but four went AWOL from training in D.C., three disappeared from Quantico, Virginia, and one from Arlington.
The State Department and Homeland Security said they don’t think there’s a reason to be concerned.
Read more: WT
A PREVIOUS REPORT ON TWO AFGHAN TRAINEES THAT WENT MISSING:
THE TWO TRAINEES ARE STILL MISSING! The public has received no picture or description of the two Afghan men who were last seen on Friday of last week. They will not say why they’re not giving a description to the public. It would help if they let people know what these two men look like.
MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Authorities are searching south Georgia for two male Afghan air force students who did not report for duty Monday, officials said.
The students have been at Moody Air Force Base since February of this year and were screened prior to coming to the U.S. more than a year ago, according to officials with the base.
The base says that both men have trained alongside U.S. troops for the entirety of this year and do not pose any apparent threat. The students and their class were set to graduate on Dec. 18.
Federal authorities are involved because these are international military students, said Captain Korey Fratini, Chief of Public Affairs for the air force base.
The two students were last accounted for Friday but did not show up for duty on Monday.
They are part of Afghan Air Force and are maintenance aircraft students here training to learn how to maintain the a29 Super Tucano. Foley said they are not pilots.
There are 9 Afghan pilots at Moody and 14 Afghan aircraft maintainers, according to Foley.
There is a coordinated effort among federal agencies to locate these men as quickly as possible and return them to the proper authorities, a statement from the base said.
They were both assigned to the 81st Fighter Squadron. The base is near Valdosta, Ga. off of Interstate 75.
According to Forey, the students are considered absconded for now.
They are not releasing missing males names, ages or pics right now but did not say why.
When they are located he says they will be brought back to Moody AFB and Foley does not know what will happen next.
Foley said the main focus is trying to get info out to local communities that the information they have is there is no indication they pose any threat.
Read more: FCN