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NATO: Search continues for missing U.S. Navy sailors as security is tightened

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By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post staff writer
Monday, July 26, 2010; 4:33 PM

KABUL -- The two U.S. Navy sailors who went missing Friday afternoon left a base on the outskirts of Kabul called Camp Julien, which houses NATO's counter-insurgency academy, and might have taken a wrong turn that sent them toward Logar province, according to NATO officials.

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Although NATO still characterizes both men as missing, Afghan officials, along with a Taliban spokesman, said one of them was killed during a shootout with insurgents in the dangerous Charkh district of Logar. Their disappearance has prompted a vast manhunt in Logar, as both U.S. and Afghan troops are searching cars and houses for the Americans.

After the apparent killing of one American and the abduction of another, NATO has tightened its security. Now U.S. military personnel are prohibited from driving alone and must travel in at least two vehicle convoys, NATO officials said.

The circumstances of why the two sailors drove into Logar, or which unit they were a part of, remain undisclosed. Logar borders Kabul to the south, but it is a lengthy drive and is unclear why the sailors would not have turned around if they were lost.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on a visit to Kabul that their trip appeared to be an "unusual circumstance."

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