Taliban ‘could have used drone’ in Kunduz attack

In what could be a “new method of attack”, an explosion in the Kunduz governor’s compound on Sunday could have been carried out by a drone, the New York Times reported Monday.

Local officials told the Times that the strike targeted the governor’s compound where bodyguards were playing volleyball. At least four security officers were killed and eight others wounded.

“When the Kunduz governor bodyguards were playing volleyball in the governor’s guesthouse, the explosion took place among them,” said Ghulam Rabbani Rabbani, a member of Kunduz’s provincial council.

“It is not clear that it was an explosion or a missile or drone attack,” he said.

Fazal Karim Aimaq, a member of parliament from Kunduz said on his Facebook page that the episode represented “a new method of attack” but did not say if a drone had carried it out.

The New York Times states a Taliban spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The Taliban’s use of small drones has been limited in recent years to filming attacks for propaganda and reconnaissance. But, according to US officials, there have been previous unreported instances of the remote-controlled devices being used to drop munitions, a practice made popular by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in the past, the Times reported.

In May, a similar strike occurred on the Kunduz governor’s compound, killing one person. At the time, the governor’s spokesman said a missile had hit a farewell party hosted by the governor. But later local officials said they believed a drone may have carried out the attack because of its precise nature.

According to the Times, if the strike on Sunday was indeed carried out by an armed drone, it would show the proliferation of a method of attack that could have wide-ranging and dire consequences for Afghan, United States and NATO forces.

Officials in Kunduz said that small Taliban drones used for surveillance were frequently seen in the skies there. In March, Afghan forces claimed to have shot down one of the drones.