Thursday, July 02, 2009

Oh no.

A US soldier has been captured by militants in eastern Afghanistan, the US military has said.

The soldier is believed to be the first seized in either Iraq or Afghanistan for at least two years.

News of the capture came as US and Afghan forces began a major operation against Taliban forces in southern Helmand province.


A hardline Taliban faction called Haqqani said it had the soldier, but this has not been confirmed by the main Taliban spokesman.

The army was using all its resources to find the missing serviceman, who was taken on Tuesday, spokeswoman Capt Elizabeth Mathias said.

AFP news agency said a commander of Haqqani, named only as Bahram, said the soldier was captured along with three Afghans in the Yousuf Khail district of Paktika province.

The commander said the soldier had been taken to "a safe place".

Another Haqqani commander, Mullah Sangeen, told Reuters the soldier would be held until Taliban fighters detained by the US were released.

The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner says the circumstances of this capture are strange and potentially very embarrassing for the Pentagon.

The Taliban are claiming he was drunk when they caught him, he says.

There is no indication he became separated during a firefight - rather that he wandered off out of his base with the three Afghans, our correspondent adds.
U.S. soldier sold to Afghan militant clan, official says

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