SEATTLE — Five Afghanistan scholars visiting the University of Washington have been reported missing.
A UW representative, Norm Arkans, told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News that the scholars, who are in their 20s to 30 years old, probably disappeared on their own volition.
Arkans said the five stopped going to class and disappeared, along with their luggage, on Oct. 6. University officials suspect the five are trying to live in the U.S. illegally.
“Afghanistan is a country in turmoil and parts of it are quite dangerous. I could speculate that they might have viewed this as an opportunity to disappear into the American fabric and become illegal immigrants,” Arkans told The Associated Press.
Arksans said two scholars from Afghanistan disappeared last year after attending the same program.
UW officials said the five scholars are part of 38 mid-career government and nonprofit officials who are in Seattle for a three-month research and training program. They did not notify the University of plans to be absent, said Bob Roseth of UW.
The visitors were selected by the Afghan eQuality Alliance, a Global Development Alliance sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through a cooperative agreement with Washington State University, Roseth said.
The scholars are in the U.S. on student visas and are working toward a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Kabul University.
Participants in the program work at organizations including the Afghan Ministries of Public Health, Foreign Affairs, and Finance; Afghan Civil Service Commission; and other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, Roseth said.
Scholars agreed to attend all training sessions as part of the program, Roseth said. University of Washington staff reported the scholars missing after they did not appear for consecutive days of training.
The university said it has hosted international scholars and fellows for more than 20 years and disappearances are highly unusual.
University of Washington police have notified federal authorities.
well, losing at least 7 students in 2 years from the same country in the same program certainly supports the claim that “disappearances are highly unusual”.
while i certainly believe that their country is ‘in turmoil’, and i believe (unlike most liberals) that our country is appealing to people who are living in such turmoil …
part of my suspects something sinister.
hate crime? cannibalism? more ACORN Obama-voter recruits? terrorist cell?
i don’t know, but it sounds fishy.