2 Afghan air force trainees missing from US air force base

ATLANTA (REUTERS) - Two men from Afghanistan being trained by the United States military have disappeared from an Air Force base in Georgia and are being sought by the federal authorities, officials said on Tuesday (Dec 8).

The two Afghan air force students failed to show up for duty on Monday at their regular maintenance training at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, an Air Force spokesman said in a statement.

The two men have been at the base since February, and were screened prior to their arrival in the United States more than a year ago, he said.

The students do not pose any apparent threat, the spokesman added.

The reason the men might have left the base was not known.

Federal agencies were trying to locate the individuals and return them to the proper authorities, the spokesman said.

In January, a soldier in the Afghanistan army who went missing during a training exercise at a US military base in Massachusetts was granted asylum by the United States.

The soldier was one of three Afghans who turned themselves in at a Canadian border crossing in New York state in 2014 after disappearing from an exercise, provoking a search by military officials and state police.

The missing Afghan nationals in Georgia are assigned to the 81st Fighter Squadron, which was reactivated in January and charged with training Afghan airmen, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

More than 160,000 Afghans have left their country for Europe this year, most spurred by poor job prospects and worsening security as Taleban insurgents grow more powerful after the bulk of Nato troops withdrew at the end of 2014.