Pakistani troops fight the Taliban for U.S. drone debris

An unmanned C.I.A. drone crashed Saturday night near Jangara village in South Waziristan, and Pakistani troops fought Taliban militants on Sunday morning for pieces of the aircraft.

It was unclear whether the drone had crashed because of technical failure or because Taliban fighters shot it down.

Pakistan first learned of the crash by intercepting Taliban radio communications, Pakistani intelligence officials told The Associated Press.

The Pakistani army confronted Taliban militants who seized the debris, and a firefight ensued. Three Taliban militants were killed and three militants and two soldiers were wounded in the fighting, Pakistani officials told the AP.

Pakistani officials said the troops were successful in seizing the debris, but Pakistani Taliban commander Azmatullah Diwana told the AP his fighters repelled the soldiers. The army had sent helicopter gunships into the area where the militants were holding the debris, Diwana told the AP.

According to the Washington Post:

The crash would be among very few in the seven-year history of the drone campaign in Pakistan, and it could risk the exposure of extremely sensitive technology, including cameras and other sensors used to monitor insurgents. While the Taliban might have little tactical use for the debris, some of Pakistan’s allies – including Iran and China – might be interested in it.

In May, an American helicopter crashed during the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the northwestern city of Abbottabad, and U.S. officials later said they suspected, but had not confirmed, that Pakistan gave the Chinese access to the largely destroyed helicopter. Pakistani officials denied doing so.

Drone attacks have increased in North and South Waziristan since President Barack Obama took office in 2008, BBC News reports, with more than 100 missile raids reported in the area last year. The CIA-run drone attacks, which the U.S. government does not publicly acknowledge, have taken out several high-level militants hiding out in Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal region in recent months.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 09/19/2011 - 11:30 am.

    Sad to say, what goes around comes around;

    It’s a classroom, Lincoln Grade School, Somewhere, USA; 1950’s maybe. The teacher is out of the room so all the boys in the class start making paper airplanes out of their ‘rough tablets’; a heavy paper that does not sail too well.

    Henry has a higher grade paper in his classier notebook; light weight paper and it flies better. It sails into the corridor faster than any of the other paper planes.

    Jerome runs for it although it is not his plane; his fell no farther than teacher’s wastebasket…some power?

    Larry and Joey and Mikey too chase the plane and fight over it cuz’ they want to make one that sails so well by itself. (Oh yes, add a ‘Jane’ in there too so there will be no gender backlash here,OK?)

    Mikey grabs the plane first from the dog pile. Sails it up and away and back into the room where it hits returning Teacher right in the you-know-where.

    But that’s not the end of the story…for as Mikey knows, if he calculates carefully; if he can balance the folds in the paper just right, he can get it to boomerang right back…he can soon design it to boomerang the darn drone right back at them…

    Moral of this story: This Is Not Good.

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