News & Politics

America to Give Afghanistan a Fleet of Drones

On Monday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that the U.S. would be giving Afghanistan their own fleet of unarmed drones.

Photo Credit: Gwoeii/

Afghanistan is joining the drone party. Afghan President Hamid Karzai “announced Monday that the United States would give Afghanistan its own fleet of aerial surveillance drones,” the New York Times reports.

The drones will be unarmed, but will be equipped with tools to help with spying missions. “They will train Afghans to fly them, use them and maintain them,” said Karzai, referring to Western forces.

The move ensures that, while U.S. troops won’t have a big footprint in the country after 2014, U.S.-made weapons and drones will be a crucial part of how Afghan security forces’ carry out their missions.

And the constant buzzing of spy drones, even if they are unarmed, will not win over Afghan civilians. “Drones are always on my mind. It makes it difficult to sleep. They are like a mosquito. Even when you don't see them, you can hear them, you know they are there,” one Pakistani man said, as an NYU/Stanford report on drones stated. In addition to Afghanistan, drones have been used in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

“I can't sleep at night because when the drones are there ... I hear them making that sound, that noise. The drones are all over my brain, I can't sleep. When I hear the drones making that drone sound, I just turn on the light and sit there looking at the light. Whenever the drones are hovering over us, it just makes me so scared,” another Pakistani quoted in the report said.

The gift of spy drones to Afghanistan also confirms an increasing trend in warfare. Unarmed aircraft, whether they are armed or unarmed with bombs, are being used increasingly around the world.

As one CNN analyst noted, “drone technology is spreading rapidly. As many as 50 countries are developing or purchasing these systems, including China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran....What kind of a future are we creating for our children? We face the prospect of a world in which every nation will have drone warfare capability, in which terror can rain down from the sky at any moment without warning.”

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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