One-hundred-and-fifty people brought to the U.S. for military training have gone absent without leave (AWOL) and they could be dangerous. Over ten of them are missing and could be lurking anywhere in America. The people brought over are Afghan troops who were supposed to receive training, but since arriving as far back as 2005, they’ve gone AWOL or vanished completely. Some live as illegal immigrants. Other’s haven’t been found at all. There’s at least 13 still missing and it doesn’t seem like anyone has any leads on their whereabouts.
A major part of the problem is that the imported soldiers don’t go through an interview process nor are they required to register as an alien upon their arrival in the United States. It’s reported, by Washington Post, that people usually go through the interview and alien registration process, but it seems like the Afghan troops are exempt from both procedures.
The Washington Times reported:
More than 150 Afghan troops brought to the U.S. for military training have gone AWOL since 2005, with 13 of them still unaccounted for and perhaps living as here illegal immigrants now, an inspector general said in a new report Friday.
Part of the problem is that the U.S. never puts the trainees through an in-person interview and exempts them from registering as aliens when they arrive — both steps that other visitors would normally have to go through.
In-person interviews and requiring the troops to register beforehand would help the government gauge whether someone is likely to go absent without leave, and would give immigration officers information about relatives in the U.S. as starting points when someone does go AWOL, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said.
But the State Department rejected those suggestions.
The audit said that while no acts of terrorism have yet been traced to the trainees, immigration agents say they’re worried because a number who go AWOL end up trying to claim asylum in the U.S., stymieing any national security investigation into their behavior.
Beyond the potential danger, American taxpayers also miss out on the investment in the troops
There’s two main concerns when troops from other countries go missing without leave. The first problem is that they could be dangerously lurking in the country and no one really knows who they are or where they’re at. That’s potentially dangerous in terms of terrorism or other forms of attacks. It’s quoted above as there not being any acts of terrorism linked to trainees, which is good. It makes sense for the trainees who went AWOL to not commit any crime if they simply came here to secretly start a new life in asylum.
The second problem is that money has been wasted bringing them here and then needing to find replacements as necessary. It’s not cheap to fly people from Afghanistan to America, so imagine how many extra flights there may have been thanks to people going missing and our government not having much of an idea of where they are, who they’re with, or what they’re doing.
The Washington Times went on:
Investigators identified 152 Afghan trainees who have gone absent without leave under the training program. Seventy of them fled the U.S., 39 managed to obtain legal status here, three returned to duty, 27 were arrested and put in deportation proceedings, and 13 remain unaccounted for.
The largest number disappeared from training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, but four went AWOL from training in D.C., three disappeared from Quantico, Virginia, and one from Arlington.
The State Department and Homeland Security said they don’t think there’s a reason to be concerned.
State officials said they don’t want to do in-person interviews before issuing visas to Afghan troops, and said they’re not convinced of the importance of full registration either.
It’s slightly bizarre to see Afghan soldiers fly to America, then flee the country. Almost 40 Afghan troops gained legal status in America, which is great because they followed the laws – thank you for that. Learning that 3 soldiers returned to duty is very noble and let’s hope they remain loyal to the job they signed up for.
What is definitely alarming is that State officials do not want interviews or full registration. That doesn’t make much sense if you ask a regular everyday person. When your country brings soldiers from another country over for training, and they start disappearing, then it’s time to take roll more effectively than ever. One simply does not permit random people into their country and not keep tabs on them.
Call it crazy, but they may want to consider the interviews and full interviews with which one might determine the soldier is bound to haul off once they hit pay dirt in America.
Should there be more strict vetting upon everyone entering the country? For the people who are against extreme vetting – how would you ensure someone entering American is safe to have as an overnight guest?