Conflict & Justice

Al Qaeda formed cells to take down US drones, documents say


A US Predator drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac in Afghanistan.

The terrorist group Al Qaeda reportedly created cells of engineers to deal with US drones that are killing its militants and leaders.

The Washington Post reported that the new tactics employed by the group were outlined in top-secret US intelligence documents given to the newspaper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The cells were allegedly created in 2010 and tasked with finding ways "to shoot down, jam or remotely hijack US drones." 

The US drone campaign has killed allegedly over 3,000 people since the beginning of the so-called "War on Terror."

Though not officially acknowledged, the drone program is believed to have targeted militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The Daily Telegraph reported an estimated 360 drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions since 2004 alone.

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The Washington Post said it had redacted portions of the document, called “Threats to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” that outlined some of the vulnerable parts of drones.

It is unclear whether Al Qaeda was successful at designing interceptors or trackers of drones, but Iran has claimed in the past that it successfully downed a US drone over Afghanistan. 

Last year, documents found in Mali showed the measures Al Qaeda takes in order to avoid be tracked and killed by drones.