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US Air Force officer goes missing in Kyrgyz capital

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- A female US Air Force officer stationed at the air base near Bishkek disappeared while shopping in the Kyrgyz capital, the US military said yesterday.

Major Jill Metzger, of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing, was separated from a group of servicemen while visiting a department store on Tuesday afternoon and has not been seen since, officials at the Manas air base said in a statement. They said a group of 22 US military investigators and logistics officers were searching for Metzger together with the US Embassy and Kyrgyz security and law enforcement services.

Bishkek police chief Moldomusa Kongantiyev said that, according to footage from the store's security cameras, Metzger spent only 10 minutes inside the store. She later made two calls from her cellphone to a number in Bishkek, and turned off her phone at 9 p.m., he said.

The US military has maintained the air base at the former Soviet republic's main civilian airport since 2001, backing operations in nearby Afghanistan.

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