A 16-year hunt: the search for a US soldier who deserted

From AP

Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Smith left his wife and three children in Texas for a deployment to Afghanistan. He was ready to return home, ready to go to war.

But when the terror attacks of 9/11 struck, thinking, “Why should I be at home with my wife and kids while these people are dying in Afghanistan?” he deserted.

He disappeared. Sixteen years later, the circumstances are still murky – some say he fled the country with $500,000 in government pay. The truth is that one year ago, his ex-wife Alicia Smith traveled from Dallas to a U.S. base near Kabul, hoping to put a face to the name of her husband and warn the American people about the conflict. She has spent the last year with thousands of other like-minded Americans, camped in tents at the Bagram Air Field and trying to find any way to talk to Christopher Smith about the combat zone.

Mr. Smith and his Afghan translator met in Dallas in 2003 and wed a year later. They married in Kandahar in 2004 and settled in the Houston area. But in the fall of 2006, Smith served notice of a return to Afghanistan, explaining in a “most important memorandum” he would be returning to serve with his infantry unit. He was to be home for an undisclosed period.

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