Body of Last Missing SEAL Found in Afghanistan

The body of the last of the four SEALS who went down in Afghanistan last month has been found. All indications are that he was killed in a firefight and not captured and beheaded as the Taliban had claimed.

Body of U.S. Commando Found in Afghanistan (AP)

The body of a missing U.S. commando has been located in eastern Afghanistan, the military said Monday, bringing an end to the desperate search for the last member of an ill-fated, four-man special forces unit that disappeared last month. One of the four men was rescued on July 3; the other two were found dead the next day.

The body of the fourth U.S. Navy SEAL was found Sunday in Kunar province by a search and rescue team, the military said in a statement. It said all indications are that he died in fighting, despite a claim by Mullah Latif Hakimi, a purported Taliban spokesman, that he was captured alive and beheaded. “The location and disposition of the service member’s remains indicate he died while fighting off enemy terrorists on or about June 28,” the statement said.

U.S. military spokesman Col. James Yonts repeatedly denied Hakimi’s claims. “There have been claims of being dropped on a mountain wearing red clothes, there have been claims of being beheaded,” he said. But “there was no indication supporting the claims. … This individual was never in custody, he was never defamed or disgraced.” He said the injuries on the commando’s body were consistent with “a firefight, a combat operation with smalls arms fire, RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) rounds.”

Hakimi never offered proof to back up his claim that the rebels were holding the commando, or that they had killed him. Information from Hakimi in the past has sometimes proven exaggerated or untrue, and his exact tie to the Taliban leadership cannot be independently verified.

This should bring closure to the man’s family, at least.

That the Taliban leadership actually wants people to think they are barbarians so badly that they will make up attrocities that they didn’t commit to boast about says a lot about the nature of our enemy.

Related: Taliban Claims it Has Beheaded Captured American SEAL

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.