al-Qaida militants targeted by U.S. unmanned aircraft may attempt to retaliate
against U.S. bases in Nevada and Arizona where the pilots remotely control the drones,
said an Air Force official.
Eggers, Air Force director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
innovations, said those being targeted by unmanned aircraft have already struck
back at the bases in the theaters of operation where the drones land and
takeoff. This usually comes in the form of mortar attacks.
officials also fear that militants may seek revenge on U.S. forces by making
direct attacks on bases that are located in the United States, where the
operators fly the unmanned aerial vehicles and launch the missiles that kill
taking very seriously in the United States the notion of insurgency teams
coming surreptitiously in the states and trying to attack our bases for just
that reason,” he said at an Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
panel discussion on ethics and the use of robotics.
defensive postures just for that reason,” he added. The Air Force remotely
flies UAVs such as the Predator B from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and Davis-Monthan
Air Force Base in Ariz.
spoke after an unpiloted drone operating in an ungoverned tribal area in
Pakistan reportedly killed a top Taliban leader. On Aug. 5, a missile fired
from a UAV killed Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud in the
ungoverned South Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan, according to press
reports. Taliban leaders claim he remains alive. Another 10 Taliban fighters in
the same region were allegedly killed the same day Eggers spoke.
UAV use in
such areas remains controversial because of allegations that civilians are
sometimes killed along with the intended targets. The comments came during a
debate on whether it was considered “chivalrous” in warfare to use standoff
weapons such as UAVs to kill enemies. It’s wrong to assume those who operate
unpiloted drones are safe from retaliation, Eggers argued.
are not necessarily safe right now. We are flying them in theater, [and]
launching them from bases in theater that are getting rocket attacks, mortar
attacks. And people on the bases are being hit,” he said.