POLITICS

Afghan officers detained at Canadian border now in U.S. immigration custody

09/23/2014 03:07 EDT | Updated 11/23/2014 05:59 EST
BOSTON - Three Afghan army officers who were arrested by Canadian border guards as they tried to enter the country on the Rainbow Bridge, in Niagara Falls, Ont., have been placed in U.S. custody.

The soldiers vanished Saturday in Massachusetts where they were participating in a military training exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that the officers face removal proceedings after being charged with administrative immigration violations.

A spokesman for ICE said the agency cannot provide more details on the charges or say where the men were being held.

The Massachusetts National Guard said earlier that the Afghan soldiers, identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar, had been detained by the Canada Border Services Agency on Monday.

U.S. authorities have said that they do not believe the men posed any danger to the public.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said on Monday that the soldiers had been fully vetted before entering the U.S., adding there was speculation within the military that they might be seeking to defect.