ATLANTA - Three Afghan soldiers training in Georgia are AWOL.
There are seven total missing across the United States.
The three missing soldiers from Georgia were at Fort Benning and Fort Gordon. They were part of a Pentagon training program that works with allied soldiers.
This is not the first time Afghan soldiers from this effort have taken off. The U.S. Department of Defense said seven Afghan soldiers training in the United States went AWOL in September.
Four disappeared over Labor Day weekend. Two of them were from Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia. One was from a base in Virginia and another was from Little Rock, Arkansas.
The weekend of September 17th and 18th three more took off. This time two were at a base in Missouri and one was at 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. The idea for the program is to train allied soldiers to help with conflicts in other parts of the world.
Commander Patrick Evans from the U.S. Navy Defense Press Operations said, “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. 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."
This group of missing soldiers joins a list of more than two dozen Afghan military trainees who have gone AWOL in the last decade.
That includes two from Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta in late 2015. They weren’t considered dangerous, and one was eventually found and sent back to Afghanistan.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is tracking this latest group.
A spokesperson told 11Alive News, "ICE's Homeland Security Investigations 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 DOD will not comment further.
In previous cases though soldiers in this program have fled trying to avoid having to go back to Afghanistan.
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