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3 Afghan Soldiers Missing From US Base

CAMP EDWARDS, Massachusetts -- Police and military officials were searching Sunday for three soldiers from the Afghanistan National Army who went missing during a training exercise at a U.S. military base.

The Afghan soldiers had been participating in a U.S. Central Command Regional Cooperation training exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod, U.S. military officials said. They arrived at Camp Edwards on Sept. 11 and were last seen at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis.

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.

Base and exercise officials were working with local and state authorities to locate them. There is no indication the soldiers pose any 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 on Wednesday. There are about a dozen Afghan soldiers still participating in the exercise.

Along with 12 other members of the Afghanistan National Army, the three men were participating in a joint exercise that focused on tactical strategies that involved only officers and senior enlisted personnel, Massachusetts National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. James Sahady said. There were six nations, including the U.S. participating in the exercise, which is scheduled to wrap up by Wednesday.

Sahady said participants at the exercise were all vetted by U.S. Central Command and were not restricted to the base, except when they were scheduled to be on duty.

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Afghanistan