Video: Afghans Throw Rocks at Crashed Predator Drone
This isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement
Here’s the symbol for American drones the Pentagon would rather the world not see. In the video below, which appeared on Facebook in recent days, Afghan villagers are seen throwing rocks at a crashed, unmarked MQ-1 Predator drone.
Aside from the bizarre imagery of the destroyed machine being pelted with rocks, it’s an illustration of pretty much what everybody already knew: Afghans hate drones.
It’s unclear how this particular robot crashed. The U.S. drone campaign in Afghanistan in Pakistan is highly secret, and it’s difficult even determining when attacks occur.
The only visible damage appears to have been sustained in a hard landing—perhaps suggesting mechanical failure. The prop, rear elevators and part of the left wing all look to have been sheared off.
That wouldn't be unusual. Drones do occasionally fall out of the sky.
A Predator belonging to U.S. Customs and Border Protection crashed off the California coast on Jan. 27. The drone—used for tracking suspected drug smugglers—lost generator power and didn't have enough reserve fuel to return to land, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This comes just after The New York Times reported that the CIA is worried it will lose its drone bases—and its ability to carry out strikes in the mountainous border regions Afghanistan and Pakistan—if Washington and Kabul can’t reach a security deal keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014.
But the drones were never popular to begin with.
“There is a perception of helpless people in an area being at like thunderbolts from the sky by an entity that is acting as though they have omniscience and omnipotence,” retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal told the BBC last month.
McChrystal, who formerly led U.S. forces in Afghanistan, supports the use of drones, but appreciates their psychological effect. “You can create a tremendous amount of resentment inside populations, even not the people who are themselves being targeted, but around, because of the way it appears and feels.”
Here’s an example.