UK to double drone fleet in Afghanistan

2012-10-23 12:27

London - Britain is to double the number of armed drone aircraft flying combat and surveillance operations in Afghanistan, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

In a new squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), five Reaper drones will be sent to Afghanistan and be in operation within six weeks, with control coming, for the first time, from terminals and screens in Britain, the newspaper said.

Pilots based in a high-tech site at RAF Waddington, a military base in England, will fly the recently bought American-made UAVs, according to the Guardian.

Britain's existing five Reaper drones, which are used to target suspected insurgents in Helmand province in Afghanistan's southwest, have been operated from a US Air Force base in Nevada because Britain has not had the capability.

The government has yet to decide whether the aircraft will remain there after the end of 2014, when most Nato soldiers are scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-23 12:47

    No consolation whatsoever to Afghans who have suffered thousands of "accidental" civilian deaths as a result of these drones. For me, any country that names it's weaponry: "the Predator and the Reaper"... to name just a few, has little respect for life and suggests some satisfaction in death and killing.

      LanfearM - 2012-10-23 16:16

      No fidel.mgoqi, stop lying. Only 368 civilians have died in 7 years of drone attacks. NOT thousands! The Taliban kill more people in a month than the US have in seven years! As to the name, do you honestly want to tell me that organisations like the Taliban with their suicide bombers and oppressive killings, and governments like Iran that talk about "wiping Israel off the map", are all for love and life? Get some perspective!

      jameel.patel.39 - 2012-10-23 16:35

      And when the Afguns double there attacks you call them terrorist

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-23 16:35

      Only 368, while Nato has refused to account about these numbers. Remember they don't do body counts! The Taliban are no angels indeed, but they don't go around the world preaching about their values and ideals, and using bombs to export these values.

      dylan.sciarappa - 2012-10-23 16:36

      @lanfear 368 civilians dead? Really? I'm glad you believe that. The Pakistani foreign affairs minister just the other day released information stating that up to 80% of people killed by drone strikes are indeed civilians. Kinda gives you some perspective doesn't it?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-23 16:37

      Lanfear, The ones from the violent loony left, are INCAPABLE of having any perspective!!!! They are a confused minority bloated with HATRED !!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-23 17:34

      Lanfear, there's a leak currently by wikileaks detailing Afghan war crimes. It reports that over a period of six years 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops have been killed , and you'll have us believe that Nato killed only 368 civilians in the same period.

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-10-23 12:57

    What amazes me is that the average person in the UK is happy to sit back and watch while their Military carry out these extrajudicial remote control killings. It's worse than sick.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-10-23 13:16

      Fair enough, but how much are you involved in your governments operations? Are you actively trying to make your country better? Or are you, just like the civilians of the UK, dealing with your own financial/personal struggles to the point where you can't actually do a single thing besides vote every 4 years? You cannot blame the citizens of any country.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-23 13:27

      It is worth acknowledging to oneself the reality that under the present "democratic" system, the aforementioned acts of citizen participation are exercises in futility, and that an individual is essentially powerless. Citizens of most warmongering western countries have found themselves in this neo-con reality in a very awkward position. They understand that in the most important issues like peace and war, they don’t have a voice no matter how they vote in ‘democratic’ elections; on the other hand they do understand barbarity, and complete illegality of their governments' actions, so like in Stockholm syndrome, they are desperately trying to find ‘good’ reasons for their actions, thus protection their psychological health.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-10-23 15:18

      lol... what about these 'extrajudicial killings' in Syria ? I'm not surprised they increasing the drones , they are an effective tool that limits the impact of conventional military operations and in perticular , useful in a country like Afgan which has a virutally no road system . Unless you think its a moral decision to do nothing , not to stand up to evil and not to take action on groups who seek your destruction when the lives of your countrymen and of those whose saftey you have accepted depend on it ,then we know where you stand (masochism)and the taliban are the good guys.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-23 15:24

      Fidel, There is NO ONE on these sites that can talk NON STOP, such unbelievable BS, as you!!! The citizens of West European countries, most certainly have a say re war and peace, and even in recent years, a number of their governments have collapsed of precisely that. But your bottem line, to any of your comments is , purely to SPEW ANTI WESTERN HATRED. THAT is the only thing you are good at !!! Fortunatelly, in Africa, you belong to such an insignificant MINORITY, that its more entertainment that you offer, to the other loony left, than that anyone should take you serious !!!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-23 15:57

      @Ninja With 10 years of military operations, using some of the most sophisticated weapons available, Nato has been unable to inflict any significant military victory in Afghanistan, and clearly doubling the number of drones won't help that other than increasing the humanitarian strife for Afghan peasants. It's also worth pointing out that the Taliban are a ragtag collection of individuals, largely orphaned boys drawn from refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and militias, almost all desperately poor and uneducated, motivated by poverty and personal loss to expel an occupying force. Most Taliban recruits were young teenagers when the Twin Towers fell. Most signed up because of losses suffered following the occupation. You do a good job of expressing the psychosis that a warmongering Humanitarian suffers from. How man more can you kill under the good guy guise? And stop pretending that you (west) always back the "good guys". You have a history of backing whoever gets you what you want.

      LanfearM - 2012-10-23 16:24

      Oh let us just quit with the hypocracy! Not all or only "western" countries are war mongers! Don't pretend that other countries are all love and light and life and peace but the "evil West" just wants war with them! Really, as I said above to Fidel, get some perspective and try to see things objectively. @ Fidel - tell me, why are these people so poor and uneducated? Is it perhaps the oppressive rule of the Taliban themselves that made them that way? Perhaps you should look into the recent history of Afghanistan a bit, read about the whole villages that were slaughtered by the Taliban, about education, healthcare and the economy that all spiralled downwards under their rule. Refugee camps were already there for decades, before the Taliban, and increased drastically during the Taliban's rule as people fled their oppression. Now it is increasing even more of course. And FYI Fidel, most citizens of Afghanistan were GLAD when the US intervened! Especially their women! Go and ask those refugees who they are running from, the Taliban or US drones. The US is not the "good" guy per se no, and they are there not just to get rid of the Taliban. Of course not. Perhaps some international political studies will benefit you and your ilk. Charles de Gaulle said it best, "in international politics there are no friends, only interests". Also, look to China as a country that only have their own country's interests at heart. As it should be.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 16:31

      Anthony is unable to think for himself and has had someone elses editorial bias shoved down his throat for far to long. He has fallen victim to public relations, the modern term for propaganda. He has an illiterate, simple view of world events and is unable to see the complications and shades of grey. He does not learn from history or is ignorant to it completely. He will never change his opinion because he is stubborn, he has been insulting "conspiracy theorists" for so long that there is no turning back. He would probably have a nervous brake down rather than accepting that he may just be a little bit wrong. His pride is more important than the evidence. I could go on but ill stop there..

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-23 16:41

      Tom 64865634946947463846673874, Well, you got a big mouth, for someone who was wrong with Tunesia than Egypt than Libya....very wrong and now with Syria and soon with Iran But, you carry on entertaining your buddies !!!!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-23 16:59

      The Taliban and Afghan peasants are poor out of their own ignorance, but this doesn't mean that they deserve be bombed. No, international law does not allow attacking a country because it does not share Western values. These wars are about domination and western hegemony, and nothing else to do with democracy and all other pie in the sky nonsense. It is the western alliance that has engaged in wars of aggression, wars which the Nazis were hanged for! The Afghan checkered history is far too long to go into here and for fear of monopolising the thread, I'll live it at that.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-23 17:10

      Tom, it's called cognitive dissonance! "Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief." - Frantz Fanon

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 18:20

      What do you mean "got it wrong"? Here is a quote. I'm not going to post a link because you won't bother going there. On October 5, 2012, Amnesty International (AI) reported upon the siege of Bani Walid by government forces. As AI explained then, “members of the Libyan army, Libya Shield forces and armed militias from various parts of the country, including Misatra, surrounded Bani Walid,” ostensibly on the grounds of trying to hunt down and arrest suspects responsible for the killing of Omran Shaaban, “credited with capturing Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi on 20 October 2011.”

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 18:21

      AI spokesman Hassiba Hadj Sharaoui was quoted in this report as stating, “’[i]t is worrying that what essentially should be a law-enforcement operation to arrest suspects looks increasingly like a siege of a city and a military operation.’” Indeed, as the report explains further, groups of armed men have been preventing medical supplies, oxygen, medical personnel, fuel, water and food supplies from reaching the town. In this same release, Mr. Sharaoui expressed concern about “’the situation of thousands of people held across Libya without charge or trial.’” the “’ongoing abductions of individuals without warrant by armed militias,’” and “’unofficial detention facilities spread across the country.’”

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 18:22

      Bani Walid was among the last cities to fall under the control of anti-Gaddafi forces during Libya’s internal [sic.] conflict last year. Hundreds of residents from Bani Walid have been arrested by armed militias. Many continue to be detained without charge or trial across Libyan prions and detention centres, including Misatrah. Many have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated. The entrance of anti-Gaddafi forces into Bani Walid in October 2011 was accompanied by widespread looting and other abuses.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 18:22

      Thousands of individuals suspected of having fought for or supported the government of Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi continue to be detained across Libya. The vast majority have yet to be officially charged or brought to trial. Since the fall of Tripoli and the vast majority of the country under the control of anti-Gaddafi forces in August 2011, human rights abuses by armed militias such as arbitrary arrest and detention; torture or other ill-treatment – including to death; extrajudicial executions and forced displacement continued to take place in a climate of impunity. To date, armed militia seize people outside the framework of the law and hold them incommunicado in secret detention facilities, where they are vulnerable to torture of other ill-treatment.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 18:26

      Here is more from the BBC : Gada Mahfud, a writer in The Tripoli Post, referred this week, however, to "clouds of pessimism in the hearts and minds of Libyans", and this fits with the mood of a good number of people I have spoken to. Many insist that they cannot say these things publicly, which itself prompts questions about freedom of speech. One of them, commenting on recent power cuts, told me: "This did not happen before the revolution, believe me. Everything in Libya was fine except for Gaddafi and his chums".

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 18:27

      The type of problems they care most about are those of economic stagnation; an apparent paralysis on the part of central government; and the fact that "law and order" remain largely in the hands of militia groups from the revolutionary strongholds. Foreign governments have recently unfrozen more than $60bn (£38bn) in Libyan government cash, and as oil production climbs back towards 2m barrels a day, revenues are pouring in.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 18:28

      Powerful groups such as the Misrata militia brigades have taken revenge on their enemies, in their case the Tawergha tribe, which they accuse of perpetrating war crimes in their city on behalf of Gaddafi. Some 30,000 Tawergha have fled from their home town near Misrata. On 6 February, some of these refugees were attacked at a refugee centre near Tripoli, and eight killed by men who the Tawerghans say were from the same armed groups. There is little evidence of any government attempt to protect the refugees or punish those responsible. This type of incident brings us to the concerns of foreign governments. Some diplomats here are beginning to wonder aloud whether the revolution's conduct towards its former opponents might sow the seeds of a new insurgency.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-23 19:24

      In a trick honed by infants the world over, Anthony prefers to stick his fingers in his ears!

  • richard.bosmano - 2012-10-23 12:59

    Rather drones in the air then boots on the ground. Drones can be replaced , human lives cannot.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 14:43

      Daniel L. Byman of the Brookings Institution wrote that drone strikes may have killed '10 or so civilians for every mid to high ranking (taliban and al qaeda) leader. Obama recently decided to call every man over 16 in the strike zone a militant. Until proven innocent. Yes, human lives cannot.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-23 15:40

      Tom 67498647846397453837, PLEASE Tom, ONE Fidel is enough on this comment site, PLEASE !!!!!

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-23 16:14

      If I don't agree with you I'm another Fidel? You're pathetic.

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-24 09:23

      Ha ha tom. British troops are human. Talibunnys are like the marikana strikers,they get what they deserve.

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-10-23 18:41

    tom.guy.37669528 I agree with you 100%! Perhaps its better to ignore certain fixated lunatics who know no life other than to sprout their twisted views on this forum!This is all because they have a narrow social life in the real world where people can choose to ignore their rantings and out of place summations of other peoples characters,simply they are boring in any normal social gatherings so they can only find space to express their neurosis here.

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