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Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 13:57 GMT
US drone crash in Pakistan 'accidental'
Predator spy plane
The plane was used to monitor security at the air bases

Pakistani police have ruled out any question of foul play after an unmanned American spy plane crashed during a test flight in southern Sindh province.

Officials said the crash was due to technical problems.

It is the fifth such crash involving the spy planes, which are used in the hunt for al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects in Afghanistan.

Officials say the pilot-less Predator spy plane malfunctioned shortly after take off from the Sahah Baz air bases near Jacobabad.

It came down inside the airfield and no casualties were reported.

Locals uneasy

Pakistan allows the Americans to use several of its air bases in the hunt for the remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taleban on the run in Afghanistan.

Officials said this spy plane, which had a range of around five miles and was worth more than $3 million, was used to monitor security at the heavily guarded bases.

Locals at Jacobabad, where US forces have been based for around 18 months, were reported as saying they were beginning to feel harassed.

Earlier this year, a drone came down in a rice field near the city.

That followed the crash of another surveillance plane in an unpopulated area near the air base three months ago.


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See also:

08 Jun 02 | South Asia
02 Jan 03 | South Asia
23 Dec 02 | Middle East
05 Nov 02 | World
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