Afghan Taliban say they have bodies of two foreign troops

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The Independent Online

Two members of the Nato-led force in Afghanistan were reported missing today and the Taliban said they were holding the bodies of two drowned foreign soldiers.

The Islamist militants' spokesman Qare Yousuf told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location that they had recovered the bodies of the drowned soldiers on Wednesday in the western Badghis province.

The province's police chief, Abdul Jabar, said the two service-members were Americans, who drowned in a river after arriving in the area during a gunbattle on Wednesday.

Earlier the Nato-led force in Afghanistan said two of its members were reported missing during a routine resupply mission in the west of the country on Wednesday.

"We continue exhaustive search and rescue operations to locate our missing service members. We are doing everything we can to find them," said US Navy Captain Jane Campbell, a press officer for the Nato-led force.

"The families of these service members have been notified about their loved ones' status, and we will continue to keep them informed as information becomes available."

The force did not identify the nationality of the missing service members. Troops from more than 40 nations are members of the nearly 110,000-strong Nato-led force, two-thirds of them American. The biggest contingents operating in the west of the country are from the United States and Italy.

Reports of missing troops in Afghanistan are extremely rare. A US soldier has been missing in the south since late June. Insurgents say they are holding him, and US forces in the area launched a massive manhunt.