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U.S. drone strikes have turned the technique of terror weapons against terrorists, according to current and former intelligence officials.

Michael G. Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said during a recent defense conference in California that missile-firing unmanned aerial vehicles remain “our most effective instrument” in the war on terrorism. They also produced the “most precise” attacks in the history of modern warfare, he said.

A former intelligence official familiar with drone warfare programs told Inside the Ring how a drone strike was carried out in Afghanistan.

The attack was viewed in real time from images produced by infrared camera-equipped surveillance drones. The video showed bright circles of lights — a group of terrorists or insurgents — gathered around another center light — a campfire.

Upon hearing the low-pitched sound of the drone’s propeller-driven engine, the terrorists scrambled away from the fire and were met with several large explosions as the drone’s Hellfire missiles exploded on the site.

Later, a second strike was conducted after a line of lights was spotted moving along a nearby mountain trail. The group of surviving terrorists eventually gathered at a rendezvous point.

A short time later, more explosions ripped through the meeting place, killing all but one of the terrorists.

“They let the last guy go so he could tell others about the devastating attacks,” the former official said.

Terrorists adopt counter-drone steps

For terrorists who are targets of U.S. drone strikes, countermeasures are being developed to try and nullify the impact of the missile strikes, according to U.S. officials.

Jihadists in Pakistan and Afghanistan are urging those targeted by the strikes to watch for spies who are part of the targeting process of locating and identifying key leaders and reporting their locations.

Other countermeasures call for locating training camps for terrorists involved in operations in forests, mountains or other inaccessible areas. Commanders are urged to work in cities or larger population centers.

“If a drone is flying over the center, avoid at all cost gathering people in one room for the purpose of praying, dining, or sleeping,” one jihadist said in a recent online post. “This will present an easy target for the drone.”


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