AFGHANS who lost family to a psychotic US soldier are being visited by a Predator drone programmed to comfort the bereaved.
The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, a flying robot drone usually used for surveillance and targeted killings in remote areas of Afghanistan, has been switched to its backup Winning Hearts & Minds operating system and is going house-to-house providing emotional support.
Afghan subsistence farmer Samoud Jalal said: “The murders have this city on a knife-edge. When the knock came at the door my son had his AK-47 ready to fire. But when my eyes met its multi-spectral targeting system and it mechanically intoned ‘I am sorry for your loss of family, friend or member of your religious community,’ I felt a sincerity I had never felt from any American.
“We took tea, it put the span of its titanium wing on my shoulder and told me how deeply it empathised with my pain. I am proud to call this Predator my brother.”
The drone is programmed to offer sympathy to all civilians who have reported the loss of a family member, or limb, to US troops, and has more than 3,000 stock phrases of consolation including ‘There, there’, ‘Life goes on,’ and ‘You will be reunited, inshallah, in paradise’.
Operation Total Civilian Commiseration has been rated a success, with only one minor teething problem when the drone misidentified goats as Taliban and took out them and the surrounding farm with an air-to-surface Hellfire missile.
Kandahar imam Hakim Sadiq downplayed the error: “A simple mistake, and not even up there in our top 10 friendly fire incidents. I have always preached death to the West but this gentle, caring Predator has made me think again.”