Taliban May Be Holding Two Missing U.S. Service Members in Afghanistan

A U.S. serviceman missing since July 23 was killed in Afghanistan and another was captured by the Taliban, a Taliban official said.

The two U.S. servicemen were targeted by the Taliban in a village in the Logar province, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Kabul on July 23, Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the Taliban said in a telephone interview. He said the serviceman who was captured is in good health.

“It is very early to request something from Afghan or U.S governments in order to release the U.S soldier,” Mujahed said.

Coalition forces are undertaking a ground and air search for the missing U.S. service members. The Associated Press reported they were U.S. Navy personnel, citing unidentified officials.

U.S. officials at the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan couldn’t be immediately reached to comment.

NATO has offered a $20,000 reward for any information to help locate the servicemen, General Mustafa Mohsini, the provincial police chief for Logar province, said in a telephone interview today.

The two servicemen left a compound in the capital, Kabul, in a vehicle two days ago, according to a statement on NATO’s website that didn’t identify their nationality. A senior North Atlantic Treaty Organization military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said both were Americans.

An armored sport-utility vehicle came under fire from Taliban forces in the Charkh district south of Kabul late on July 23, AP cited Samer Gul, the region’s chief, as saying yesterday. One of the occupants may have been killed and the other captured, Gul said, according to AP.

The servicemen were seized in Matinai, a village in an area south of Kabul controlled by the Taliban, the Washington Post reported, citing unidentified Afghan officials.

Separately, five U.S. soldiers were killed yesterday in southern Afghanistan by improvised explosive devices, NATO said.

More than 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died in the war in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said July 23. President Barack Obama has vowed to start bringing U.S. troops home next year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eltaf Najafizada in Kabul, Afghanistan at enajafizada1@bloomberg.net; Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net.

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