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Afghan Search Is On For Missing U.S. Soldiers

International forces in Afghanistan are engaged in a major search for two U.S. soldiers who went missing and possibly took a wrong turn that led them into dangerous territory in Logar Province.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement that the missing soldiers left their compound late on July 23 "and did not return."

The ISAF statement did not identify the pair by nationality, but AP quoted an unnamed international official as suggesting the two are U.S. Navy personnel.

AP also quoted Abdul Wali, the head of the provincial governing council, as saying that Taliban fighters had offered through intermediaries to exchange the soldier "that is still alive" for Taliban prisoners in official hands. Other reports said the fighters were offering to exchange the body of an American soldier for jailed Taliban militants.

But a Taliban spokesman was denying their fighters were behind the disappearances and said he would look into the matter, although he had previously contacted media outlets suggesting two Americans had been taken hostage. The spokesman reportedly provided detailed descriptions of the soldiers and the equipment they were carrying.

Reports suggested the militants might be scrambling to plot and coordinate their next move.

Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared in June 2009 in nearby Paktika Province, is the only other U.S. serviceman believed to be in Taliban captivity.

compiled from agency reports