The Border Patrol said its agents took into custody last week an Afghan military officer wanted by the Defense Department for deserting while on a training trip to the United States.
Mustafa Tanin had been selected to receive further military training — a Basic American Language Instructor course — at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He was sent to Washington, D.C., last month for a week studying at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center but disappeared on Sept. 25.
Tanin was classified as absent without leave and his visa was revoked.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents were reportedly looking on an Amtrak train for someone else while stopped in Havre, Mont., to refuel when they encountered Tanin. The train’s destination was Washington state.
He reportedly told officials he was from Mongolia.
“Vigilance is one of our core values in the United States Border Patrol. Border Patrol agents from the Havre Station proved this true by locating and arresting a soldier from Afghanistan who had absconded from his military unit during training, and by doing so, violated the conditions of his visa,” Acting Patrol Agent in Charge Scott Jones said in a statement. “The men and women of the United States Border Patrol stand ready to defend our homeland from those threats.”
According to the Associated Press, a second Afghan military officer deserted with Tanin.
“While there have been others who have absconded while in training, there is a well-coordinated process among federal agencies to locate the individuals as quickly as possible and return them to their respective homeland,” Air Force Maj. Toni Whaley said.
Tanin has a little-used Twitter account where he favorited tweets about efforts to improve women’s rights in Afghanistan. He followed commentators Michelle Malkin, Rachel Maddow and S.E. Cupp, as well as Judicial Watch, People magazine and High School Musical actress Ashley Tisdale.