US to equip Afghan army with drone capabilies: Gen. Mattis
By Meena Haseeb - Thu Mar 07 2013, 3:17 pm
A top US military general on Wednesday said Afghan national security forces will be equipped with drone capabilities in a bid to keep a watch on the tough terrain along its eastern border with Pakistan.
Gen James Mattis, the commander of US Central Command, told members of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, “The Afghans do not have that capability yet. It’s one of the enablers that we are trying to build into them before we leave.”
He said, “The long-term view is that we will continue this so long as we are there, and we will transition this capability, standing it up inside the Afghan forces so when we leave, they have the ability to keep an eye on that border area.”
“I’ve operated in many areas around the world, and I’ve never had more difficult military terrain to operate in than along that border.” the US General said while referring to the difficult terrain along the Afghanistan and Pakistan border.
In the meantime US Congressman Ron Barber expressed concerns regarding the ability of US and its NATO allies to target terrorists including Haqqani Network on Pak-Afghan border.
Gen. Mattis was responding to Ron Barber’s question which focused on any possibel long-term plan for American unmanned reconnaissance after the planned drawdown of American troops.
The US Congressman also questionned the capacities of the Afghan national security force have for unmanned aerial platforms to target terrorists’ networks.