An unnamed U.S. soldier is missing in Afghanistan and is known to be the victim of kidnapping. The U.S. Military wants the missing soldier back and has sent a sobering message to the residents in at least two villages in suspect areas. The leaflets contained a message and a warning to return our missing soldier.
The graphic above shows the front side a leaflet produced at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan with this message on one side:
The papers show on one side an image of a soldier with his head bowed so that his face is not visible (above). A message in the local Pashtun language over the image says, “If you do not free the American soldier, then…”
The second graphic above is the backside of the first and says:
…you will be targeted”.
The military says the leaflet says “…you will be hunted,” but some translators say the word also means “targeted.”
Sources are inconclusive about how the leaflets got to the villagers: some reports say they were dropped from aircraft with the warnings seen in trees and on rooftops. A Military spokeswoman says they were delivered by hand, but says an aircraft leaflet-drop was made earlier to these villages notifying the people that a U.S. Soldier is missing and asking for information on his whereabouts:
The above graphic is not an actual picture the missing soldier. On the front it reads:
One of our American guests is missing.
The backside says:
Return the guest to his home. Call us at…,
Heart-wrenching appeals to the people who live among untold cruelty at the hands of those who are in possession of one of our own.
A Taliban militant said the U.S. Military has made three previous attempts to find the GI, but failed. He said the soldier is in a safe and secure place in a Taliban-controlled area. This spokesman said ransom demands, or an offer for a prisoner swap may be made, but warned that any attempts by foreigners to rescue him will lead to the soldier’s death.
Reuters reports that Mawlavi Sangin, a Taliban commander, issued warnings to the U.S. that continued “harassment” of the villagers in the area may also lead to the soldier’s death.
Reportedly, the U.S. Infantry soldier had just completed a shift and was off-duty when he walked off the U.S. base and left his body armor and weapon behind on June 30th. An anonymous U.S. military source said that communications by insurgents had been intercepted and it was believed that Taliban had the GI. Three Afghan nationals were abducted at the same time.
The Taliban commander, who spoke to Yousafzai [CBS correspondent] via satellite telephone from the region, said a group of militants cornered the American soldier and his Afghan counterparts near a U.S. military base and took them hostage.
But CBS News has learned that not long after the soldier disappeared, U.S. intelligence picked up radio chatter that he had been kidnapped. U.S. officials know he’s already been sold to another group of Afghans – but no direct contact has been made with the kidnappers.
This is believed to be the first abduction of a member of the U.S. Military in the almost-8-years since the War on Terror began. While leaflet-drops are ‘business as usual’ in these areas, those targeted have been the insurgents. This time villagers are warned. It’s a different ballgame. Read the entire article here.
U.S. Department of Defense Graphic credit: CBS News.