From 2005 to 2017, more than 2,500 individuals from Afghanistan came to the United States for training through various military programs. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, wants answers from the Department of Defense about a government report showing 152 Afghan National and Defense security forces have gone AWOL since 2005. Eleven of those went missing from mid-Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood. Thirteen of the missing trainees have never been found.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill

McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has written to the department asking it to confirm the report’s findings. She has also requested more information about the military’s procedures used to find missing trainees and what the department is doing to reduce the number of individuals who go AWOL.

“Given my role on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I have no bigger responsibility than ensuring Congress is considering the internal security and safety of families in Missouri and around the country,” McCaskill says. “The majority of these Afghan military trainees have been located, but the fact that any of them remain unaccounted for is deeply concerning and it’s important we get more information on how this happened and what’s being done to locate these individuals.”

Some of the trainees have said they fled because they feared for the safety of themselves and their families if they returned to Afghanistan.