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Two Navy SEALS Found Dead in Afghanistan

July 5, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Two Navy SEALS missing in Afghanistan have been found dead, a senior U.S. defense official said Monday night.

Another SEAL was rescued on Saturday and the fate of a fourth SEAL was unknown.

The official who confirmed the recovery of the two bodies spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing effort to account for the missing U.S. servicemen in Afghanistan.

The team was reported missing last Tuesday in Kunar province. A rescue effort the same day ended in tragedy when the transport helicopter seeking to extract the team was shot down, killing 16 troops aboard.

The serviceman rescued on Saturday had taken shelter in an Afghan village elder’s home in the province before American forces were notified of his location and picked him up, Kunar provincial Gov. Asadullah Wafa said.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Mullah Latif Hakimi, claimed last week that militants had captured one team member. He said the ``high-ranking American″ was caught in the area where the helicopter went down.

Hakimi, who also claimed insurgents shot down the helicopter, often calls news organizations to take responsibility for attacks, and the information frequently proves exaggerated or untrue. His exact tie to the Taliban leadership is unclear.

U.S. officials said they had no evidence indicating any service members had been taken into captivity.

The Navy SEAL rescued from Kunar province was being evaluated Monday, officials said. He was in stable condition and receiving medical treatment at the main U.S. base at Bagram.

Update hourly