Thursday, 29 July 2010

"Second captured US serviceman found dead"

The (London) Times has published the following on its website:

"The body of a second American sailor held captive by Taleban insurgents has been recovered almost a week after he and a colleague were ambushed by Taleban fighters in a hostile area south of Kabul, US and Afghan officials said.

The family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, 25, from the Seattle area, have been notified of his death, a US military official told the Associated Press.

The retrieval of the body yesterday afternoon brought to a close a major manhunt across Logar province that was launched when the young serviceman and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley, 30, from Colorado, failed to return to their base in Kabul after driving off together in a white sports utility vehicle.

No explanation has been given as to why the two sailors were out alone in such a dangerous part of the country. The US military typically travel in groups of armoured vehicles when moving off-base outside Kabul.

The remains of Petty Officer McNeley, a father of two who was killed during the ambush last Friday in the Charkh district of Logar, were retrieved in the area on Sunday. His body has already been flown back to the United States.

It remained unclear how Petty Officer Newlove died. He had survived the ambush and was being held in an undisclosed location by Taleban insurgents.

General Mustafa Mosseini, the chief of police in Logar, said he believed the body of Petty Officer Newlove had washed downstream after rains on Tuesday night. US forces retrieved the body on Wednesday afternoon.

David Rohde, an award-winning correspondent for The New York Times, was also kidnapped in Logar province while trying to make contact with a Taleban commander. He and an Afghan colleague escaped in June 2009 after seven months in captivity, most of it spent in Taleban sanctuaries in Pakistan.

The only other US serviceman known to be held hostage by militants in Afghanistan is Private Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho. He disappeared on June 30, 2009 in neighbouring Paktika province, an area heavily infiltrated by the Haqqani network, which has deep links to al-Qaeda. Private Bergdahl has since appeared on videos posted on Taleban websites, confirming his captivity."

I have posted a comment on The Times website:

"My deepest sympathy to his family and friends and to all of the families and friends of those who have been lost in this criminally pointless venture. The streets of Seattle (where I was a week or so ago) and our British cities are no safer for the sacrifices being made. Bring all of our American and British boys home. Afghanistan is another Vietnam." 

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