Two Missing Commandos Are Dead

US soldier with US Flag over a map of Afghanistan.
AP / CBS
A U.S. official has told CBS News that two of the three members of an elite U.S. military team still missing near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border are dead.

The report comes after an Afghan provincial governor claimed that a third member of the four-man special operations team - missing since Tuesday - had been located near the border. U.S. military officials in Washington have denied that, saying there is no information to prove the claim. The governer cited Afghan intelligence sources when he made his announcement.

The fourth missing Navy SEAL was rescued yesterday. A U.S. military spokesman would only say that American forces were still searching the area for the other three soldiers.

Kunar Gov. Asadullah Wafa also said a U.S. airstrike last week in the region killed 17 civilians. The American military confirmed civilians died but said the attack was targeting a known terrorist compound.

Citing Afghan intelligence sources, Wafa said the second U.S. service member was believed to be wounded and had taken shelter in a house in a remote part of the region.

"He is in a civilian's house. He is injured," he said. "Afghan soldiers and police are trying to reach the area to rescue him."

U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara declined to comment on the governor's comments, except to say "we hold every hope for those who are still missing."

He said American forces were still in the area searching for the missing men.

But a senior U.S. Defense Department official in Washington said a second service member had not been found. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of ongoing rescue operations.

The small special operations unit was reported missing last Tuesday in mountains in Kunar province, near the border with Pakistan. A rescue effort the same day ended in tragedy when a transport helicopter seeking to extract the team was shot down, killing 16 soldiers aboard. It was the deadliest single blow yet to American forces who ousted the Taliban in 2001.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com