17 Afghan Soldiers Have Gone AWOL in Texas
Some have security access badges
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2010 9:28 AM CDT
Afghan National Army soldiers carry their gear during training exercise in Kabul, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

(Newser) – A nationwide alert has gone out warning that 17 Afghan military members have gone AWOL while training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The men were training to be pilots, know some English, and have security badges granting access to any Defense Department installation, according to a bulletin entitled “Afghan Military Deserters in CONUS [Continental US],” obtained by Fox News.

That all sounds alarming, but officials say it’s “kind of old” news—the desertions occurred over two years, with the most recent occurring three months ago—and that it’s more of an immigration issue than a security threat. “Their real intention is to get to the US and start a new life,” said one law enforcement official, adding that some had already been caught.