A second U.S. Navy sailor who went missing in a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan was found dead and his body recovered, a senior U.S. military official and Afghan officials said Thursday.
The family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, a 25-year-old from the Seattle area, had been notified of his death, the U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to disclose the information.
Newlove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley went missing last Friday in Logar province. NATO recovered the body of McNeley -- a 30-year-old father of two from Wheatridge, Colorado -- in the area Sunday.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Kabul on Thursday that two days ago the Taliban left the "body of a dead American soldier for the U.S. forces" to recover. The Taliban said McNeley was killed in a firefight and insurgents had captured Newlove. Mujahid offered no explanation for Newlove's death.
NATO officials have not offered an explanation as to why the two service members were in such a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan.
The sailors were instructors at a counterinsurgency school for Afghan security forces, according to senior military officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. The school was headquartered in Kabul and had classrooms outside the capital, but they were never assigned anywhere near where McNeley's body was recovered, officials said.
The chief of police of Logar province, Gen. Mustafa Mosseini, said coalition troops removed Newlove's body about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. An anti-terrorism official in Logar province, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case, also said coalition forces had recovered a body.
Mosseini said he believed the body washed downstream after rains Tuesday night.
He noted in the past several days, the Taliban were being pressured by coalition forces in the area.
"The security was being tightened," Mosseini said. "Searches continued from both air and the ground. Militants were moving into Pakistan."
Mohammad Rahim Amin, the local government chief in Baraki Barak district, also said coalition forces recovered a body about 5:30 p.m. and flew it by helicopter to a coalition base in Logar province, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) away.
"The coalition told our criminal police director of the district that the body belonged to the foreign soldier they were looking for," Amin said.