Afghan intelligence officials ‘missing’ in the United States

Alibaba Ghashee
On November 2, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that two highly trained Afghan intelligence officers had gone missing in the United States. IntelNews hears that American authorities are still looking for the two Afghans, who seem to have disappeared without trace. The two missing officers work for Afghanistan’s main domestic intelligence agency, the National Security Directorate (NDS), which was founded following the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan and is mostly funded by Washington. The missing officers are Captain Alibaba Ghashee (pictured), Deputy Director of the NDS’ American and European Department, and Major Mohd Farooq Ghanizada, who directs agency’s Counterterrorism and Organized Crime Department. Both offices disappeared while in Washington, DC, for a high-level executive training program run jointly by the American and German governments. The 10-week intensive course, taught as part of the George C. Marshall Center Advanced Security Studies program, trains elite members of security and intelligence agencies from NATO member-states and other Western-allied countries. Although headquartered in Germany, the program involves a trip to Washington, DC, where participants are briefed by officials from —among other agencies— the FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency. The two Afghans were supposed to meet their American government escorts on October 22 in downtown Washington, before heading to the airport for their return flight to Afghanistan. However, they never appeared, nor did they show up for their flight at Washington Dulles International Airport. CBS News, which reported the story on November 2, said some FBI agents are extremely concerned knowing that “two highly trained Afghan intelligence officials [are] possibly hiding on US soil”, especially in light of sustained Taliban infiltration of Afghan security and intelligence bodies. On the other hand, the two Afghans are said to have undergone a detailed background investigation as part of the vetting process for joining the ten-week course, which showed “no sign of anything unusual”. An unnamed US law enforcement official told CBS that the two Afghan intelligence officers are probably seeking a way to remain in North America, and may be heading to Canada, “where asylum rules are fairly liberal”.

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