Afghan troops and police visiting the US for military training go ‘absent without leave’ (AWOL) much more often than military trainees brought to the US from other countries, a fresh report revealed. “Nearly half of all foreign military trainees that went AWOL while training in the United States since 2005 were from Afghanistan,” said a report by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), published this week.
According to the paper, 152 of the 320 foreign trainees (or 47 percent) who fled the program over the course of the last 12 years were from Afghanistan, raising concerns about the program's procedures.
Only 27 Afghan trainees who went AWOL have been located by US authorities. Meanwhile, 89 deserters were able to flee the US or “remain unaccounted for,”SIGAR said.
In the report, the watchdog pointed out that “tendency of Afghan trainees in the United States to go AWOL may hinder the operational readiness of their home units, negatively impact the morale of fellow trainees and home units, and pose security risks to the United States.” Though Afghan trainees are considered “high risk,”SIGAR was “not aware of any acts of terrorism or similarly serious acts” on their part. All Afghan trainees are supposed to be carefully vetted for security reasons before being allowed to enter the US.
Over 2,500 Afghan soldiers and police have been brought to the US for training since 2005, after Washington pledged to help the Afghanistan authorities to be able to provide security in the country on their own.
The report revealed that the number of Afghans going missing in the US has sharply increased in recent years, which saw a spike in violence in Afghanistan due to the increased Taliban activity.
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