Al Qaeda bid to fight back against US drones: Report

Published: 04th September 2013 11:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2013 11:23 AM   |  A+A-


In a bid to curb the deadly US drone campaign, Al Qaeda's leadership has assigned cells of engineers in Pakistan to find ways to shoot down, jam or remotely hijack US drones, according to the Washington Post.

The terrorist network is hoping to exploit the technological vulnerabilities of a weapons system that has inflicted huge losses against it, the influential US daily reported Wednesday citing top-secret US intelligence documents.

Although there is no evidence that Al Qaeda has forced a drone crash or successfully interfered with flight operations, the Post citing documents said US intelligence officials have closely tracked the group's persistent efforts to develop a counter-drone strategy since 2010.

The airstrikes have forced Al Qaeda operatives and other militants to take extreme measures to limit their movements in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places.

The Post said a top-secret intelligence report, titled "Threats to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles," provided to it by Edward Snowden, the fugitive former National Security Agency contractor, gives a summary of dozens of intelligence assessments posted by US spy agencies since 2006.

US spy agencies have concluded that Al Qaeda faces "substantial" challenges in devising an effective way to attack drones, according to the top-secret report disclosed by Snowden.

Still, US officials and aviation experts acknowledge that unmanned aircraft have a weak spot: the satellite links and remote controls that enable pilots to fly them from thousands of miles away, the Post said.

In July 2010, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) reported that Al Qaeda was sponsoring simultaneous research projects to develop jammers to interfere with GPS signals and infrared tags that drone operators rely on to pinpoint missile targets, it said.

Other projects in the works included the development of observation balloons and small radio-controlled aircraft, or hobby planes, which insurgents apparently saw as having potential for monitoring the flight patterns of US drones, according to the report.

Al Qaeda cell leaders in the tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan were "determining the practical application of technologies being developed for battlefield applications," analysts from the DIA wrote, according to the Post.

The analysts added that they believed Al Qaeda "cell leadership is tracking the progress of each project and can redirect components from one project to another."

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp