Sources: Downed drone spied for CIA
From Jamie McIntyre
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. government sources indicate to CNN that the unmanned spy plane downed by the Taliban on Saturday was providing intelligence for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia claims its forces shot down an unmanned spy plane in Samangan and a helicopter in areas where opposition fighters had launched an attack. The Taliban said the plane contained computerized equipment and the wreckage will be brought to Kandahar.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that the Pentagon has lost contact with an unmanned drone, but said, "That happens from time to time."
"There's no reason to think it was shot down, as the press is reporting," he said.
The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan said Taliban forces used captured Soviet anti-aircraft guns to bring down the plane.
Two U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles have been lost over Iraq this year, while on surveillance missions. Iraq claims to have shot down the UAVs in late August and most recently on September 11.
The most common type of UAV or "drone" is the Predator aircraft, which flies at lower altitudes, making it more vulnerable to anti-aircraft attack. The small, $3.2 million pilotless plane normally operates at 10,000 to 15,000 feet and is capable of flying a maximum of 24 to 30 hours.
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