Afghan military students go AWOL from Fort Benning, other U.S. posts

Published: Sep. 29, 2016 at 2:57 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2016 at 6:30 PM EDT
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(WTVM) – Seven Afghan students in U.S. military programs went absent without leave or AWOL this month, including two from Fort Benning.

Patrick Evans, the Commander of the U.S. Navy Defense Press Operations confirms that four went AWOL over the Labor Day weekend - the two from Fort Benning, one from Fort Lee, VA and one from Little Rock, AR.

Then, he says the same scenario happened with one Afghan student from Fort Gordon, GA and two from Fort Leonard Wood, MO on the weekend of September 17-18.

"It is important to note that the majority of Afghans who train in the U.S. successfully complete their training and return to their country.  However, there have been occasions where IMSOs (International Military Student Offices) have learned of plans to go AWOL. In some of those cases, those students have been returned immediately to their country," Commander Evans told us.

"When an International Military Student (IMS) is absent from scheduled activities for more than 24 hours without proper authorization, the IMS will be considered in an Unauthorized Absence/AWOL status. The IMSO will carefully check student accountability records before making a determination of UA to ensure that the IMS is not absent because of misunderstanding the schedule, sick in quarters/local hospital, or for other plausible reasons," Commander Evans wrote in an update to News Leader 9.

Carissa Cutrell with the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement saying:

"ICE's Homeland Security Investigations is aware of the situation, and is working in coordination with the State Department and the Department of Defense. Specific details regarding these activities are not available at this time."

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