Afghan Airman Missing in US Located, 1 Still Unaccounted For

PHOTO: A mock F-16 fighter jet is silhouetted against the sky at sunrise as workers pass through security and make their way onto Moody Air Force Base, near Valdosta, Ga. Mark Foley/AP Photo
A mock F-16 fighter jet is silhouetted against the sky at sunrise as workers pass through security and make their way onto Moody Air Force Base, near Valdosta, Ga.

One of the two missing Afghan airmen who disappeared in the United States in December has been located, according to a U.S. official.

Two male Afghan Air Force students, part of a program to train Afghan pilots and maintenance personnel, had failed to report for duty Dec. 7, 2015, at their regular training at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia.

They were among nine pilots and 14 maintenance crew who were at the base for much of the past year. The missing men were from the maintenance crew.

One of the men is an Afghan Air Force lieutenant, while the other is a senior master sergeant, officials said.

They were scheduled to graduate from the program a week after they went missing and return to Afghanistan shortly after.

Officials did not confirm which of the men was found.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been leading the investigations since their visas were revoked.

The men were screened prior to their arrival in the United States and trained alongside U.S. counterparts for the entirety of 2015. They did not pose any apparent threat, according to an Air Force statement at the time of their disappearance.

This is not the first time Afghan trainees have gone missing from a military training program within the United States. In one incident in 2014, Afghan soldiers went missing in Massachusetts and were found attempting to seek asylum near the Canadian border.

In another instance, soldiers went missing during a tour in Washington, D.C., and were later sent back to Afghanistan.