Kabul: The Taliban have offered to exchange the body of a US Navy member they said was killed in an ambush two days ago in exchange for insurgent prisoners, an Afghan official said on Sunday.
US and NATO officials confirmed that two American Navy personnel went missing on Friday in the eastern province of Logar, after an armoured sports utility vehicle was seen driving into a Taliban-held area. Afghan officials believe one was killed and the other captured when they apparently took a wrong turn and ended up in a dangerous area of Logar.
Abdul Wali, the head of the provincial governing council, said local authorities responded to the Taliban offer by saying, "Let`s talk about the one that is still alive." The insurgents said they would have to talk to superiors before making any deal.
Local media in Logar reported the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the two Americans. Both Afghan and NATO officials said they have not been directly contacted by the insurgents. The Taliban demand came through intermediaries, Wali said.
The Taliban have an efficient public relations system and usually quickly call international and local media after attacks to claim responsibility.
Friday`s attack appeared to be spur of the moment, making it likely the militants are trying to decide how to spin the incident.
The two sailors left their compound in the Afghan capital, Kabul, in a vehicle Friday afternoon, but never returned, NATO said in a statement. Vehicles and helicopters were dispatched to search for them, and NATO launched appeals on local radio stations offering USD 10,000 rewards for information leading to the return of either one.