Kabul: The remains of one of two U.S. servicemen who went missing in Afghanistan last week have been found in the east of the country, the NATO-led force said on Tuesday, and troops were still searching for the second man.
The two soldiers went missing on Friday after failing to return in a vehicle they had taken from their compound in Kabul, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Taliban said they were holding prisoner one of the two soldiers who had strayed into territory controlled by the insurgents just south of the capital, and that the other had been killed.
For the first time on Tuesday, ISAF confirmed that one of the servicemen was dead.
"Afghan and coalition forces recovered the remains of a missing ISAF service member Sunday in eastern Afghanistan after an extensive search," the alliance said in a statement.
ISAF scrambled helicopters and planes to look for the pair after they went missing, but officials have declined to give anything but scant details since, prompting speculation that the two had been acting outside the chain of command.
Leaflets depicting photos of the two soldiers were distributed in Logar province where the two went missing, less than 100 km (60 miles) south of Kabul and announcements on local radio stations offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to a rescue.
The NATO-led force said it would continue to search fort he other missing soldier.
"We will continue this effort until our service member is recovered. ISAF holds the captors accountable for the safety and proper treatment of our missing service member," it said.
On Sunday, a spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location that the group`s leadership would decide later on the fate of the captive.
The only other foreign service member believed held by the Taliban is Idaho National Guardsman Bowe Bergdahl, whose capture in June last year triggered a massive manhunt. His captors have issued videos of him denouncing the war, in what the U.S. military has called illegal propaganda.
Last month was the deadliest of the nine-year war in Afghanistan for foreign troops, with more than 100 killed.