KABUL, Afghanistan — A second U.S. Navy sailor who went missing in a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan was found dead and his body recovered, a senior U.S. military official and Afghan officials said today.
The family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, a 25-year-old from the Seattle area, had been notified of his death, the U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to disclose the information.
Newlove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley went missing last Friday in Logar province. NATO recovered the body of McNeley — a 30-year-old father of two from Wheatridge, Colorado — in the area Sunday.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Kabul on Thursday that two days ago the Taliban left the “body of a dead American soldier for the U.S. forces” to recover. The Taliban said McNeley was killed in a firefight and insurgents had captured Newlove. Mujahid offered no explanation for Newlove’s death.
NATO officials have not offered an explanation as to why the two service members were in such a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan.
The sailors were instructors at a counterinsurgency school for Afghan security forces, according to senior military officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. The school was headquartered in Kabul and had classrooms outside the capital, but they were never assigned anywhere near where McNeley’s body was recovered, officials said.
The chief of police of Logar province, Gen. Mustafa Mosseini, said coalition troops removed Newlove’s body about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Newlove was shot once in the head and twice in the torso, according to Logar provincial spokesman Din Mohammad Darwesh. He speculated Newlove may have been wounded in a shootout with the Taliban and died because there was no medical care available in the rugged mountain area.
Mosseini said he believed the body washed downstream after rains Tuesday night.
He noted in the past several days, the Taliban were being pressured by coalition forces in the area.
“The security was being tightened,” Mosseini said. “Searches continued from both air and the ground. Militants were moving into Pakistan.”
Mohammad Rahim Amin, the local government chief in Baraki Barak district, also said coalition forces recovered a body about 5:30 p.m. and flew it by helicopter to a coalition base in Logar province, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) away.
“The coalition told our criminal police director of the district that the body belonged to the foreign soldier they were looking for,” Amin said.
In the capital Kabul, President Hamid Karzai urged his international partners on Thursday to take stronger action against terrorist sanctuaries outside of Afghanistan, telling reporters the international community “is here to fight terrorism, but there is danger elsewhere and they are not acting.”
Karzai appeared to be referring to insurgent sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan, although he did not cite that country by name.
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit criticized Karzai’s comments, saying, “We found these incomprehensible given the fact that we all know well that during the last two years Pakistan and Afghanistan have been cooperating very closely with each other against terrorism.”
Pressure is building on Pakistan to escalate the fight against militants on its soil, especially since the release of more than 90,000 leaked U.S. military documents posted Sunday on the Web by WikiLeaks. The trove of U.S. intelligence reports alleged close connections between Pakistan’s intelligence agency and Taliban militants fighting Afghan and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Pakistan called the accusations malicious and unsubstantiated, but the push to persuade Pakistan to do more to eliminate Islamic extremists on its soil continues.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday that Pakistan needs to make progress against terrorist groups on its soil.
“To be fair, the Pakistan government — they have taken action against these groups,” he said.
But refusing to back down from comments he made this week in India, Cameron added: “We need them to do more and we will support and help them as they do more.”
Karzai also told reporters he ordered his Cabinet to study the war papers, especially those that address Pakistan and civilian casualties in Afghanistan. He also said documents that disclosed the names of Afghans who have worked with the NATO-led force were “shocking” and “irresponsible.”
“Their lives will be in danger now,” he said. “This is a very serious issue.”