The Taliban claimed Sunday that they killed a U.S. sailor and kidnapped another as NATO forces ramped up a massive search for the servicemen, who went missing two days earlier in an area held by the militants.
The coalition force set up checkpoints and distributed fliers with the sailors' pictures and are offering thousands of dollars in rewards for their return. There were conflicting reports about whether the body of one of the two had been recovered.
U.S. and NATO officials confirmed that two American Navy personnel went missing Friday in the eastern province of Logar, after an armored sport utility vehicle was seen driving into a Taliban-held area. NATO officials were unable to say what they were doing in such a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid also said the pair drove into an area under insurgent control, prompting a brief gunfight in which one American was killed and the other was captured. He said both were taken to a "safe area" and "are in the hands of the Taliban."
The sailors' heavily reinforced white Land Cruiser has been recovered, according to a security official in Logar who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information.