By Tessa Roy
Three missing Afghanistan National Army officers were found earlier this week. The men, Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar, were detained upon trying to enter Canada and are now in custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Maj. Arash, Capt. Askarzada, and Capt. Aminyar were engaging in a U.S. Central Command Regional Cooperation training exercise in Cape Cod and walked away Saturday after their day off visit to a shopping mall. The Massachusetts National Guard says the men were stopped by the Canadian Border Security agency on the Rainbow Bridge. They were then held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, New York on charges of administrative immigration violations. The men could also face removal proceedings.
The annual training exercises, which included participants from Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, are set to end Wednesday. Officials say the exercises have been held since 2004 for the purpose of building cooperation and functionality between forces and to practice operations of peacekeeping.
Governor Deval Patrick was briefed on the situation over the weekend, and confirmed Monday the men were vetted fully before they were brought back to the U.S. He mentioned the military was suspicious of the three becoming defectors, but U.S. authorities emphasized their belief the men are not dangerous to the public.
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