Responding to fierce criticism regarding the large number of civilian casualties sustained in their war against Islamic militants, US forces in Afghanistan have unveiled the latest generation in unmanned drones: specifically designed to irritate their targets with a range of juvenile practical jokes.
Using state-of-the-art Knock Down Ginger technology, the new drones can target a suspected militant from a distance of several thousand feet; knock on his door and then head back to its base of operations – all in the time it takes for the target to get out of their armchair.
Trials of the new weapon have produced stunning results, according to Colonel Shaun Kelly, officer commanding of the 1st Mechanised Tommy Knocker Regiment. ‘After identifying the compound of Taliban chief Abdul al Mahsud, we were not only able to deliver a paper bag full of dog-dirt to his doorstep, but were also able to set it on fire. As a result, enemy operations along the Pakistani border were delayed by at least fifteen minutes while al Mahsud cleaned his porch and put on a new pair of shoes.’
However human rights groups have roundly condemned use of the weapon, calling them to be banned under the Geneva Convention. Many experts also query American claims that the drones eliminate the threat of collateral damage. ‘Only yesterday a market in the Swat valley was bombarded with toilet paper,’ claimed one activist, ‘it’s inhuman.’
There is also evidence that militant fighters are also resorting to similar tactics, leading to fears that the conflict could escalate into a never ending cycle of increasingly childish pranks – something which Col. Kelly is more than prepared for. ‘I have a crack team standing by with squirty flowers and hand buzzers,’ he warned. ‘If we catch just one extremist trying to egg American personnel – we unleash hell.’
(Written 22 Jan 2010)