Feds: 5 missing Afghan scholars turn up in Canada
By GENE JOHNSON and DONNA BLANKINSHIP
The Canadian Press
October 15, 2008
SEATTLE (AP) Five visiting scholars from Afghanistan who disappeared from the University of Washington were found Wednesday morning in Canada after crossing the border separately over the past several days, a U.S. immigration official said.
“We wanted to find them and we found them, so our investigation is now closed,” said Lorie Dankers, a spokeswoman in Seattle for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “They're not in the U.S., so they're not in violation of U.S. immigration law.”
Dankers said her agency worked with Canada Border Services Agency to confirm their whereabouts. A spokeswoman for the Canadian agency said she could not provide any information.
The five scholars, all men age 30 or younger, were visiting the University of Washington to work on their master's theses. They attended the first week of training workshops after arriving in late September but failed to show up for the second week of the program and have been missing since Oct. 6, the university said Tuesday.
They were among 38 mid-career government and nonprofit officials in Seattle for a three-month research and training program. They were working toward a master's degree in public policy and administration at Kabul University.
The university has expressed concern about the integrity of its program.
“We don't want this to happen,” school spokesman Norm Arkans said. “It's not around for people to come and use it as an opportunity to immigrate illegally into the country.”