Missing Afghan soldiers located near Canadian border, says FOX 25 federal source


(MyFoxBoston.com/AP) -- A federal source tells FOX 25 the three missing Afghan soldiers who went missing from Cape Edwards in Bourne have been located near the Canadian border.

The three were being questioned by federal authorities at Rainbow Bridge Monday afternoon, which connects Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, said spokesman David Procopio. FOX 25's source said that the men were trying to defect when they were found. 

Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, 48, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, 18, and 20-year-old Capt. Noorullah Aminyar were first reported missing by base security Saturday night. FOX has obtained copies of their visa photos.

The three men were on Cape Cod for training exercises and arrived at Camp Edwards on September 11. The missing soldiers had been subject to thorough background checks before being permitted into the U.S., CENTCOM confirms. There were a total of 12 Afghani soldiers who were on the base for the training.

The officers had been partaking in a chaperoned event at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis meant introduce them to cultural aspects of American life before going missing. State authorities were notified an hour after the soldiers' disappearance.

Gov. Deval 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.

"They were vetted by the military. They were cleared by the military," Patrick told reporters while he visited a preschool program in Quincy. "There is a lot of speculation within the military that they may be trying to defect," he said.

U.S. Central Command reported Monday morning that they would be taking over the investigation. Federal officials said the men never had any access to weapons, and that they had not committed any crimes.

The Regional Cooperation exercises have been held every year since 2004 and aim to promote cooperation among forces. Over 200 participants from six nations, including the U.S., attended this year's exercise, which wraps up on Wednesday. Military officials from Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia are also participants.