Mullah Fazlullah, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, accused of shooting activist Malala Yousafzai was killed by a United States drone strike June 13 close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a U.S. military official confirmed to Voice of America. "U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization," army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said. He was reportedly traveling in a vehicle with four other commanders when the strike took place, Pakistani daily the Express Tribune reported. "A US drone strike in Afghanistan's northeastern Kunar province has killed the leader of the TTP," Mohammad Radmanish, Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense spokesperson, told CNN. "US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's unilateral ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by ... Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which began on the 27th day of Ramadan," a statement from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said claiming the strike did not put the ceasefire order by President Ashraf Ghani into risk, CNN reported. "As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include US counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of US and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked," the statement added.
A drone footage of the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. and five Nigerian soldiers that surfaced recently shows the service personnel desperately trying to escape and fighting for their lives after friendly Nigerien forces mistook them for the enemy. The video shows the harrowing hours of troops holding off their enemy and waiting for rescue. It shows how the soldiers set up a defensive location on the edge of a marsh and wrote letters to their loved ones thinking they were going to die. Pentagon released the video with explanatory narration and it contains more than 10 minutes of drone footage, animation and file tape that was not made public last week when the military released a portion of the final report on the October attack, the Guardian reported. In a failed attempt to target a local ISIS leader, 46 U.S. and Nigerien troops were involved in the initial mission in the West African nation.
Despite being commercially available, drones can be a real threat. They can barge into no-fly zones, engage in mid-air crashes, reconnaissance missions, or even conduct deadly air-strikes. The risk of such attacks never wears off but in order protect its critical installations against rogue UAVs, United States military is working on some lethal counter-drone weapons. The service, in collaboration with defense manufacturer Raytheon, has produced two Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV) -- one that uses high power microwave (HPM) to disable the target and other that deploys a high energy laser (HEL) to disintegrate it. The two systems were put to test in a recent Maneuver Fire Integrated Experiment and were able to take out as many as 45 different drones out of the sky, along with a few stationary mortal projectiles, Popular Mechanics reported.
Sally Jones, a former punk rocker from Kent, United Kingdom, who gained notoriety as "Mrs Terror" after joining the Islamic State group (also called ISIS), was reportedly killed in a United States drone strike along with her 12-year old son Jojo in Syria as she tried to escape Raqqa, the Sun reported. Though Whitehall sources confirmed reports that Jones was killed, according to the Guardian, the Pentagon was unable to confirm the news. Maj Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Guardian, "I do not have any information that would substantiate that report but that could change and we are looking into this." Rukmini Callimachi, a correspondent for the New York Times, also said two senior U.S. officials denied that Jones was dead. Fifty-years-old Jones was born in Greenwich, southeast London, and later moved to Kent.
The U.S. Army ordered units to halt the use of DJI drones, it was revealed last week, but officials still won't say why it banned the company's products. DJI told International Business Times it reached out to officials about the direction to discontinue the use of its drones, but the U.S. army did not respond to them. "The US Army has not explained why it suddenly banned the use of DJI drones and components, what'cyber vulnerabilities' it is concerned about, or whether it has also excluded drones made by other manufacturers," DJI said. In a letter obtained by sUAS News, the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy found there were operational risks associated with DJI products. The memo cited a classified report, "DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities," and a U.S. Navy memo, "Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products."
The U.S. Army has ordered units to cease the use of DJI drones, according to a memo obtained by sUAS News. The letter, dated this week, said the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy found there were operational risks linked to DJI equipments. Officials cited a classified report called "DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities," as well as a U.S. Navy memorandum called "Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products." The report and the memo were both dated May 2017, which suggests officials have been looking into this for a while. In the letter, the U.S. Army's Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson said: "DJI Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] products are the most widely used non-program of record commercial off-the-shelf UAS employed by the Army.
The move was the second time in a week that it shot down a pro-Syrian government aircraft in the sky. "The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. Carla Babb, the Pentagon correspondent for Voice of America (VOA) tweeted Tuesday saying the sources have confirmed that the Iranian-made drone shot down by the U.S. fighter jet was being operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the U.S. military shot down the Shahed 129 as it approached an established coalition combat outpost near al-Tanf in southeast Syria, where the U.S. is holding training sessions for local fighters against the Islamic State group, VOA reported. Officials also said that the shot Iranian aircraft was the same type of drone that a U.S. warplane had shot down June 8 after it attacked U.S.-backed fighters in southern Syria.
North Korea has been accused of spying on South Korea after a suspected Pyongyang drone was spotted on the site of a U.S. missile interceptor system, Seoul's military officials said Tuesday. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which is designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles, is being deployed in Seongju in order to protect South Korea from Pyongyang's growing threats. According to Yonhap News, the small unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a Sony-made camera was found last week on a mountain near the inter-Korean border. The drone had apparently crashed close to the THAAD site. The South's military took the drone in custody and analysed the content of the 64-gigabyte memory chip.
U.S. Special Forces killed the head of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan last month, officials confirmed Sunday. Abdul Hasib died in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation in Nangarhar province April 27, Reuters reported. Hasib, who had been leading the faction since predecessor Hafiz Saeed Khan died in a U.S. drone strike last year, was believed the architect of several high-profile attacks, including a March 8 attack on Kabul's main military hospital that left dozens of medical staff and patients dead. Afghan President Ashrab Ghani also has accused Hasib of ordering the beheading of local elders in front of their families and the kidnapping of women and girls, who were forced to marry ISIS fighters. Two U.S. Army Rangers also died in the attack that killed Hasib, part of an operation that included drone strikes that began in March along the border with Pakistan.