Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wire: Military Says US Soldier Captured in Eastern Afghanistan

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that insurgents have captured an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Thursday.

In a statement issued from U.S. military headquarters in Kabul, officials said "we are exhausting all available resources to ascertain his whereabouts and provide for his safe return."

Spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the soldier went missing Tuesday.

Mathias did not provide details on the soldier, the location where he was captured or the circumstances.

An Afghan police official said the soldier went missing during the day Tuesday in the Mullakheil area of eastern Paktika province. Gen. Nabi Mullakheil said there is an American base in the area, the Associated Press said.

The soldier was not part of the large-scale assault launched on Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan early Thursday, the Washington Post said. That operation, which involves about 4,000 troops from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, was encountering only light resistance, officials said.

The Washington Post reported that military officials in Afghanistan, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation, said the missing soldier appears to have walked off his base into an unsecured area. It was not clear why he had apparently done so.

Agence-France Press reported that a commander of the Taliban's hard-line Haqqani faction claimed Thursday that his militia had captured the soldier, along with three Afghan "guards," in the Yousuf Khail district of Paktika province. The area is along the border with Pakistan.

U.S. officials declined Thursday to provide additional information about the missing soldier, saying that doing do could place him in further jeopardy.

This is a developing story.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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