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Coalition soldier missing in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 21, 2012 at 8:50 a.m.

— A search is under way in southern Afghanistan for a soldier from the NATO-led coalition, believed to be the first to have disappeared since a U.S. Army sergeant was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago, a military spokesman said Friday.

U.S. Army Maj. Martyn Crighton said the soldier was among the 1,560 troops from the former Soviet republic of Georgia serving in the country.

A statement from Georgia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday said an intense “search and rescue” operation was being mounted in Helmand and Nimroz provinces, describing the soldier as a military officer who disappeared Wednesday.

The last known coalition soldier to disappear was U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 26, who was taken prisoner on June 30, 2009, in Paktika province in southeastern Afghanistan.

Bergdahl, who turned 26 in captivity March 28, was the subject of a proposed prisoner swap in which the Obama administration was considering the transfer of five Taliban prisoners long held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar.

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