The Pentagon confirms that an American soldier is missing from his remote forward base in remote outpost in Paktika Province, Afghanistan–which borders with South Waziristan, Pakistan, the area which is believed to be harboring Osama bin Laden. ABC reports,
He was discovered missing when his bulletproof body armor and rifle were found at the base.
A strange disclosure.
Further investigation leads the military to believe that this soldier left the boundries of the U.S. base without permission, without his armor, without his rifle. When the private first class did not show up for formation on Tuesday, a search of his quarters revealed his absence.
Why would the soldier inexplicably leave his weapons and armor and walk out of the U.S. encampment? The military now believes that there were several Afghan nationals with him. Did they have a weapon on him which went unseen by the rest of his unit? In this case the young man is entirely a victim of a kidnapping.
If he was not,forced off base against he will, was the soldier deserting? Did he believe that he would meet with someone and be coming back? How was he enticed off base? Or in the worst of situations, has he defected to the enemy and the claims that he is being held against his will are subterfuge?
I have hopes for the soldier’s safe return to his family. He is the first soldier to be captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban has a history of murdering its captives.
But he has some serious questions to answer. The Pentagon is not yet identifying the soldier in question, although they insist that all possible assets are searching for the soldier.