A total of 45 have disappeared from training camps in the U.S. in less than two years, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.
“Eight students training at U.S. facilities were reported Absent Without Leave (AWOL) in September,” Adam Stump, a Defense Department spokesman told Anadolu Agency.
Stump said an student was caught at the Canadian border by Canadian police while attempting to enter Canada from the U.S.
He said 25 were reported in 2015, and 20 were AWOL in 2016.
The Pentagon is assessing “ways to strengthen the eligibility criteria for training in ways that will reduce the likelihood of an individual willingly absconding from training in the U.S. and going AWOL”, Stump added.
He said the reported were in various stages of training on a variety of topics, including leadership, language, infantry, aircrew, intelligence, engineering, military police, ordnance, transportation and Army Ranger.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told reporters Thursday the U.S. has trained more than 2,000 on American soil but “this has been something we’ve had to deal with over the years”.
Of the 45 trainees who have left, the Pentagon knows where 32 are and their reason for leaving. “In some cases they’ve gone home. In some cases there have been efforts — as I understand it — to go to Canada. Some have sought to legally remain in the United States,” Cook said.
He added that the Pentagon notified the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Immigration Enforcement, and the government about the .
The U.S. has trained 2,207 in U.S.-based programs since the 2007 fiscal year and, nearly 14,000 have been trained in and out of the U.S., according to Stump.