At least 44 Afghan troops have taken advantage of a US military training program to illegally immigrate to the US since at least Jan. 2015, the Pentagon admitted.

The US routinely brings Afghan troops to the US for training, despite the fact the Afghan Army has been infiltrated with Islamic militants who have carried out attacks on Westerners.

“The Defense Department is assessing ways to strengthen eligibility criteria for training in ways that will reduce the likelihood of an individual Afghan willingly absconding from training in the US and going AWOL [absent without leave],” said Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump.

Eight of the troops have disappeared in the past month alone.

The Pentagon claimed the Afghans are “carefully vetted” before they’re brought to the US, but last year FBI Director James Comey admitted the U.S. can’t realistically vet everyone for terror ties.

“We can only query against that which we have collected,” Comey told a House committee in Oct. 2015. “And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.”

In other words, it’s impossible to vet recently radicalized ISIS militants who have not yet attacked, but are planning on doing so.

It’s plausible that more than 44 Afghans have gone missing; around 2200 Afghan troops have received training in the US since 2007 – and an anonymous US official said the frequency of Afghan troops going AWOL is “out of the ordinary.”

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