DEVELOPING: Three Afghan National Army officers who vanished from a Cape Cod military base where they had been taking part in a training exercise have reportedly been found near Niagara Falls, where they were trying to cross into Canada.
The men, reported missing by the Massachusetts National Guard, were first reported missing Saturday night at Joint Base Cape Cod late Saturday. A statement identified the soldiers as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, 48, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, 18, and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar, 20.
A federal source told MyFoxBoston.com the men were caught at the border on Monday. The report could not be confirmed.
Earlier, Pentagon officials who spoke to Fox News said they did not feel that the missing soldiers posed a public threat. U.S. military officials told The Associated Press that the men arrived at Camp Edwards on Sept. 11. They were last seen during a day off at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis.
Massachusetts National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. James Sahady told the Cape Cod Times that the men “had the freedom to come and go.”
“If they were off-duty, they could go to McDonald’s or the mall,” he said.
Base and exercise officials were working with local and state authorities to locate the soldiers, who were taking part in a U.S. Central Command Regional Cooperation exercise.
The exercises have been held annually since 2004 to promote cooperation and interoperability among forces, build functional capacity, practice peacekeeping operations and enhance readiness.
National Guard officials confirmed that three soldiers from the Afghan National Army have gone missing from Joint Base Cape Cod, reported WFXT-TV in Boston.
Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar — who were at the base for training exercises — were reported missing by base security Saturday night and have not been seen since, the station said.
“There is no indication they pose a threat to the public,” Massachusetts National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. James Sahady told the Cap Cod Times.
The three missing soldiers, along with 12 other members of the Afghan National Army, were taking part in a tactical strategies joint exercise that involved only officers and senior enlisted personnel, Sahady told the Times. The training took place at Camp Edwards on the base and is known as Regional Cooperation 2014, which lasts seven to 10 days, WBZ-TV reported.
Six countries, including the U.S., are participating in activities scheduled for completion by Wednesday, the Times added.
All the participants were vetted by U.S. Central Command and not restricted to the base, the Times added, except for scheduled duty.
The three soldiers arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 11, the paper reported.
Sahady told the Times they were last spotted Saturday night at the Cape Cod Mall.