Taliban using stolen US made infrared patches to ward-off air attacks

June 23rd, 2009 - 2:14 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Lahore, June 23 (ANI): Several Taliban insurgents are making use of special US made infrared patches to prevent themselves from being targeted by American aircraft.

The Taliban fighters are using the patches, which emits ‘friendly signals’ to ward-off attacks by the US drones, The Washington Times has revealed.

The patches, which are designed to avoid fire during night-time battles, were stolen by the insurgents during raids on US supply convoys in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is also feared that suicide bombers could utilize the patches to get closer to the US army bases in the region.

But, what is more startling and disturbing is that these custom made patches can be ordered over the internet for a mere 10 dollars each.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) is also alarmed over such developments.

The GAO, in its investigation recently, had found out that the patches could easily be bought using fake names with only a valid credit card.

“An enemy fighter wearing these infrared flags could potentially pass as a friendly service member during a night combat situation, putting US troops at risk,” the GAO report said.

“Based on our conversations with the Department of Defence, terrorists have used US uniforms and the infrared patches to get close to US and allied forces on the battlefield and at bases. This is more of a potential suicide-bomber risk,” the GAO’s assistant director of forensic audits, Jonathan Meyer said.

US Senators have also raised concerns over the issue, terming it as a matter of ‘grave concern’.

Bart Stupak, chairman of House Energy and Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee, said he is particularly alarmed that such patches are sold domestically, and are being manufactured by China too.

“It is rather simple technology. We not only sell this on the domestic market here, and they sell them to anybody, but you can get them from China, and the Chinese will sell them to others. They have been used by the enemy in the war. It’s of grave concern because you don’t know who is friendly or not,” The Daily Times quoted Stupak, as saying.

However, a retired four-star general, Jack Keane, said that the whole issue was being overrated.

“Since the beginning of warfare, people have been dressing up as the enemy to infiltrate,” he said. We certainly have done this in the past to our enemies, and our enemies have done this to us,” Keane said. (ANI)

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