Afghan police shot down a bird equipped with an explosive pouch, GPS tracker and detonator after they saw the suspicious animal flying near the north border of the country.
Police detected something was amiss when they identified the bird and noticed it wasn’t native to the area. When police shot the bird, it exploded and “suspicious metal stuff” scattered around the area, according to Major General Abdul Nabi Ilham.
The bird had several wires sticking out of its feathers, a mobile phone detonator and a “suicide vest” specially designed for its body. Police noted it was the first time they had made such an encounter, and described the bird as larger than an eagle.
“We are gathering all the stuff,” Ilham said of the scattered parts, "but found parts of what looks to be a GPS and a small camera.”
Police have speculated that the bird was on some kind of surveillance mission before it was shot down, which is something not uncommonly performed in the history of warfare. During World War II, the Soviets reportedly trained dogs to run underneath tanks while wearing backpacks with explosives. The Islamic militant group Hamas have also reportedly used donkeys to carry explosives.
The success of the Faryab Province police follows complaints that officers are suffering from weapon and equipment shortages. District police chief of the Helmand Province Ahmadullah Anwari said that he can only supply each checkpoint in his district with three hand grenades.
“Sometimes up to 200 Taliban attack our checkpoints and if there are no army reinforcements, we lose the fight,” Anwari said.
Despite supply shortages, U.S. and Afghan commanders have praised the bravery and effectiveness of local soldiers.