by Florian Flade
A new video out of the Pakistani-Afghan tribal region gives a rare glimpse into the drone reality in Waziristan. The Taliban propaganda tape shows what looks like a downed drone aircraft, presented by two Taliban fighters as a trophy. Several unmanned aircrafts have been shot down in the Waziristan tribal area in the past years, some of them crashed without being hit by enemy fire.
In the latest footage released by the Tehrik e-Taliban´s media outlet the drone does not appear to be the MQ-1 Predator drone model (27ft / 8,2m in length) or the MQ-9 Reaper frequently used by the CIA to target Jihadi militants of the various factions present in the Pakistani Federal Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). This drone, which was obviously damaged, is a rather small model, probably not even able to carry the deadly Hellfire missiles used by the US intelligence service to kill wanted terrorists.
Besides the steady presence of CIA drones in the skies over Waziristan, Pakistan´s military is operating the unmanned killer aircrafts in this region as well. Downed or crashed drones are rather expensive losses or US forces and due to the technical equipment on board of the Predators and Reapers, US forces are trying to recover lost drones or – if a rescue mission is not possible – try to destroy the wreckage.