Taliban denounces US drone surveillance over Afghanistan, citing airspace violation

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Monday confirmed the presence of American drones conducting surveillance over Afghanistan’s airspace. He condemned these operations, describing them as a violation of the countrys sovereignty.

Mujahid did not specify the number of provinces where the surveillance has been done. However, reports have emerged about the presence of such drones in Kandahar in the south, Badakhshan in the northeast, Panjshir in central Afghanistan and Kunar in the east over the past three days.

Responding to Amu’s inquiries about the drone activities above the southern province of Kandahar and some other provinces, Mujahid said they seek an immediate cessation of such reconnaissance missions by the United States.

He criticized the drone flights as a “violation of Afghanistan’s airspace” and incompatible with international law.

“Furthermore, we urge nations that facilitate these flights through their airspace to discontinue supporting this process,” Mujahid stated.

The statement comes amid recent reports identifying increased drone surveillance operations in Kandahar as well as some other provinces, including Badakhshan, in the last three days.

While the United States has not formally responded to the Taliban’s claims, such drone operations are typically conducted for intelligence and reconnaissance purposes, particularly in regions with heightened security concerns.

This comes as a new United Nations report warns that al-Qaida has established eight new training camps in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and is increasingly assisting anti-Pakistan militants to launch cross-border attacks.

The UN report shows that Daesh claimed three attacks between November 8, 2023, and January 10, 2024, a decrease from eight in the prior reporting period. These attacks included targeting Shi’a civilians and employees from Pul-e Charkhi prison in Kabul.

This also comes after concerns about resurgence of Daesh activities in Afghanistan and its threat to the region and the world, particularly the United States.