BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — Police in Kyrgyzstan say 39 military conscripts have abandoned their post, reportedly over a disagreement with commanding officers.
The Interior Ministry said Monday that relatives of the soldiers, who went missing overnight, are assisting in tracking them down.
Local media say the troops, who were due to demobilize in the spring, were guards at the Ala-Archa governmental residence in the capital, Bishkek.
Bishkek-based 24.kg online news portal reports unnamed military sources as saying the desertion followed an argument between the conscripts and their superiors.
Budgetary shortfalls and poor morale have undermined the army in the former Soviet Central Asian nation.
Kyrgyzstan hosts a U.S. air transit center used for operations in Afghanistan and has voiced apprehensions about the possible security ramifications over NATO's withdrawal from there in 2014.