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Unmanned aircraft goes down in Afghanistan, ISAF says

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The aircraft that went down is no bigger than the "average toy remote-controlled airplane"
  • ISAF says it has "no benefit to the enemy"
  • Many downed drones are stripped of valuable parts by scavengers

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A unmanned aerial vehicle went down in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

ISAF spokesman Col. Hans Bush said the Luna UAV had mechanical problems and went down in a Taliban stronghold area in Kunduz province.

He said there had been reports of the Taliban seizing a "reconnaissance plane" after an emergency landing, but those accounts are "misleading."

There are no plans to retrieve the UAV, the ISAF spokesman said.

"Because the aircraft went down in an area known to be littered with IEDS and has absolutely no benefit to the enemy, we decided not to recover it," Bush explained, referring to the bombs called improvised explosive devices.

The small craft is only a bit larger than the "average toy remote-controlled airplane purchased from a hobby shop," Bush said. It's 2.28 meters (or about 7 feet) long, has a take-off weight of 37 kilograms (about 80 pounds) and is powered by an engine similar to a lawnmower motor, he said.

U.S. military incident reports recently published by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.org say scavengers many times get their hands on downed unmanned aircraft, also known as drones.

On several occasions, military units sent to recover the aircraft have arrived to find them already stripped of valuable parts.