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3 Missing Afghan Soldiers Found on US-Canada Border


A map shows the locations of Cape Cod Mall and Camp Edwards in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

A map shows the locations of Cape Cod Mall and Camp Edwards in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Three Afghan military officers who went missing during a training exercise at a U.S. military base in the U.S. northeastern state of Massachusetts were detained by the Canadian Border Patrol as they tried to cross into Canada.

U.S. authorities say the members of the Afghanistan National Army were taken into custody Monday near Niagara Falls, New York, along the northeastern border with Canada.

The Pentagon confirmed they were detained "around noon" Eastern time.

On whether Canada will retain custody or if the three soldiers will be turned over to U.S. authorities, U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman said, "we're still working that out between the Canadian government and the Afghan government. We should have some resolution shortly."

Missing since Saturday

Vehicles are stopped by security personal as they enter a gate to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, Sept. 22, 2014.

Vehicles are stopped by security personal as they enter a gate to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, Sept. 22, 2014.

Authorities at Joint Base Cape Cod reported the three missing Saturday. They were last seen at a shopping mall in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts National Guard spokesman Lieutenant Colonel James Sahady said officials did not believe the soldiers posed a threat but were baffled about their disappearance.

"There is no threat right now, and we are just concerned on where they are and where did they go," Sahady said. "And that is the good question right now. Did they go sightseeing or did they get lost, etc.? Or do they have other agendas that we do not know about at this time?"

Annual military exercise

Sahady said the soldiers did not have access to weapons as part of the training exercise that involves about 200 soldiers from six countries, including 15 others from Afghanistan.

The United States has conducted the annual training sessions since 2004 as a way to promote better military coordination with other countries.

The three soldiers were identified as Major Jan Mohammad Arash, Captain Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Captain Noorullah Aminyar.

The week-long exercise is scheduled to end on Wednesday.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters. VOA's Carla Babb contributed to this report.

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