Wednesday, October 15, 2008

5 more Afghan scholars missing from UW

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Trained Taliban fighters disguised as students loose in the Rockys? Will the Neo-Nazis take care of them for us?


Local News | 5 more Afghan scholars missing from UW | Seattle Times Newspaper: "Five visiting Afghan scholars have been reported missing by the University of Washington after failing to show up to scheduled training sessions at the university over the past week.

The five scholars — part of a group of 38 from Kabul University — may have simply decided to "disappear into the fabric of American society" given the situation in Afghanistan, said UW spokesman Norm Arkans. In all, seven Afghan scholars have vanished from the UW this year. Two scholars from an initial spring group of 15 may have fled to Canada.

Still, faculty organizers say the Afghan program, which is aimed at enabling civil servants to rebuild their country, should continue.

The latest missing students, all men aged 30 and younger, were visiting the UW as part of a three-month program sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). They were supposed to be working on master's degrees. By disappearing, the students aren't breaking any laws but are violating the terms of their student visas, Arkans said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was told about the five missing students last week and is actively investigating the case, said spokeswoman Lorie Dankers.

All the students speak good English and have at least a bachelor's degree — and in some cases, a master's — said Sanjeev Khagram, a UW associate professor of public affairs and international studies who led the first group of students.

Many of the students hold prominent government positions dealing with schooling, water, infrastructure and other vital programs, while others work for agencies such as the United Nations."

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