Two Afghan military students at Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood are reported to be among seven such students in four states who are absent without leave since last month. Both were reported missing during the weekend of September 17-18 It’s unclear what training the students were receiving.
In an email to Missourinet, Patrick L. Evans, commander of the U.S. Navy Defense Press Operations said students normally finish their U.S. training and return to their country, but officials have uncovered some students’ plans to go AWOL. In some of those cases, students have been returned immediately to their country.
Evans said “when an International Military Student is absent from scheduled activities for more than 24 hours without proper authorization, the (student) will be considered in an Unauthorized Absence/AWOL status. The International Military Student Office will carefully check student accountability records before making a determination of Unauthorized Absence to ensure that the (student)is not absent because of misunderstanding the schedule, sick in quarters/local hospital, or for other plausible reasons.”
Evans said, if an International Military Student is determined to be absent without leave, the International Military Student Office notifies the Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Also in an email to Missourinet, Carissa Cutrell with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency is aware of the Afghan military students being reported AWOL and “is actively working to locate these individuals in coordination with the State Department and the Department of Defense”. She declined to give further details about the ongoing investigation.