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Taliban claims to use drone to film suicide attack

By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 23, 2016

KABUL, Afghanistan — In what may be the group’s first use of such a device in their campaign to overthrow the U.S.-backed government, the Taliban claim to have employed a drone to film a suicide attack they conducted in Helmand province earlier this month

The video, posted on the group’s website Friday and identified as containing drone footage, includes aerial shots of a Humvee driving into a police base in Helmand’s Nawa district and then exploding.

The alleged suicide bomber is interviewed in the video smiling in front of a vehicle that seems identical to the one that explodes. Large numbers of Humvees have been provided by the United States to the Afghan army.

The Afghan government had not verified the authenticity of the footage as of Sunday afternoon, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. But the governor’s office in Helmand said that the video looked authentic and that the Taliban were likely able to make it “with the help of foreign intelligence,” an apparent reference to Pakistan’s, Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

“This is naturally a very big issue,” said Ali Akbar Qasimi, a member of the parliament’s defense committee. “It’s the first time I’ve heard of the Taliban using a drone camera to film their attack. Such videos will likely help the Taliban with their propaganda.”

The Oct. 3 blast shown in the video may have killed the district police chief in Nawa and several others, Helmand officials said.

The Afghan government in June banned the use of camera drones throughout the country because of security concerns.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com

Twitter: @PhillipWellman

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