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44 Afghan troops have gone missing in the United States since January of 2015

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Afghan Soldiers

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sara Csurilla

Since January of 2015, 44 Afghan troops training in the United States have gone missing according to a Reuters report of information that was previously not disclosed to the public. Since September alone, eight of the 44 have been reported missing which according to the military is ‘out of the ordinary’ considering foreign military members training in the United States have gone missing in the past.

Although the number of disappearances is relatively small — some 2,200 Afghan troops have received military training in the United States since 2007 — the incidents raise questions about security and screening procedures for the programs.

Currently, foreign troops receiving training in the United States receive extensive vetting to ensure they haven’t or aren’t currently involved in radical overseas groups or have participated in genocidal situations. This has prompted the U.S. military to elicit a lower level of concern considering that vetting process and the general belief that these particular Afghan soldiers are looking to work within the United States illegally.

Still this is all just extra fodder for Donald Trump and his campaign which will more likely use these numbers to continue its xenophobic platform including their past proposition of a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country or constructing  a wall along the U.S./Mexico border.

“The Defense Department is assessing ways to strengthen eligibility criteria for training in ways that will reduce the likelihood of an individual Afghan willingly absconding from training in the U.S. and going AWOL (absent without leave),” says Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump.

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