Afghan officials have confirmed that the Taliban has used “weaponized drones” in some attacks on government forces in recent weeks.
The officials said “the Taliban embeds mortar rounds or small bombs with the drones and drop them on military and government installations.”
Kunduz, Logar, Balkh, Paktia and Faryab provinces have witnessed Taliban attacks by use of drones in recent weeks, local officials said.
In one of these incidents on November 1, a group of soldiers were playing volleyball in a sports ground in Kunduz governor’s compound at around 5pm local time when they were attacked by a mortar shell. The incident left four dead and six wounded.
Local officials said initial reports showed that a drone has been used in the attack.
“Investigation into the incident is underway to find out whether it was a mortar shell, or it was dropped by a drone,” said Esmatullah Muradi, spokesman for Kunduz governor.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, the road that connects Baraki Barak district with the center of Logar province witnessed an explosion following by gunfight. Security sources said that in this incident, a “weaponized drone” dropped small bombs on an army outpost in the district.
Local officials have not commented on this. But Logar governor Mohammad Ajmal Shahpoor said that a bomb was dropped on the army outpost before the gunfight.
“Two of our soldiers were wounded in the incident and a military tank hit a roadside mine when they returned from the incident in which one person was killed,” the governor said.
A photo of one of a weaponized drone was made public on March 8. Afghan forces said they took down the drone.
Security sources said that Afghan forces so far have taken down few other drones in some provinces that carried bombs and mortar rounds.
Faryab governor Naqibullah Faeq said there are signs of use of drones by the Taliban in the province.
“These drones have the capacity to film during nights. These drones have been used in Qaisar clashes as well as in the clashes in Khwaja Sabz Posh district (in Faryab),” he said.
Security sources said that the drones can be controlled from five kilometers distance.
Edmund Fitton-Brown, Monitoring Team Coordinator of the United Nations, said he cannot reject the use of drones by the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country.
“… At the end, the weaponisation of drones is something that any terrorist group or any insurgent group might do. So I have no knowledge of the Taliban’s drone capability but I have no reason to say that they don’t have one,” he said.
The National Security Council did not provide figures on use of drones in attacks by the Taliban so far. But spokesman of the council, Rahmatullah Andar, said efforts are underway to reduce damages in possible drone attacks.
“We have considered special measures for important areas where security and defense forces bases are located or in areas with gatherings so that drones cannot infiltrate there,” Rahmatullah said.
TOLOnews could not get the Taliban’s comments on the use of drones by the group. Taliban spokesmen refused to talk on the matter.