US Kills 16 in Rare Afghanistan Drone Attacks

UAVs typically stick to neighboring Pakistan
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2010 5:47 AM CST
A Predator drone unmanned aerial vehicle takes off on a US Customs Border Patrol mission from Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(Newser) – Unmanned US drones killed 16 insurgents in a pair of airstrikes within Afghanistan yesterday, the military announced today, in an unusual case of the drones being used inside Afghan borders. The drones are typically used only for assaults over the border in Pakistan—and by the CIA, not the US military, the New York Times notes. It’s unclear if this was a one-time event, or a strategic shift in the face of heavy recent casualties.

Both strikes were within Helmand province, with the drones firing Hellfire anti-tank missiles. Witnesses there said the dead all appeared to be insurgents; past coalition airstrikes in Afghanistan have caused political turmoil because of civilian casualties. The attacks came on the same day that seven coalition troops, including three Americans, were killed, amidst escalating violence.

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