Predator drone visiting Afghan families on condolence mission

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.”


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Car salesman hot favourite to be drunkest person at Cheltenham

A 38-YEAR-OLD car salesman is the bookies’ choice for Champion Drinker at the Cheltenham Festival.

The four-day event, which takes place next to some horses at a racecourse, attracts the top professional drinkers from around the world.

This year’s 2-1 favourite is garrulous Cork resident Martin O’Hanlon, who came over on the ferry with four grand in his top pocket and a ‘virtually unlimited’ capacity for rum and coke.

O’Hanlon’s trainer, Stephen Malley, said: “Martin romped home last weekend at Kelso, consuming 194 units of alcohol over a 48-hour stretch. That includes 98 units before he had his first piss.

“He’s a great competitor and a fantastic personality. The crowd loves it when he doesn’t seem that pissed but then tries to leave the bar via an imaginary door.”

Earlier this season O’Hanlon, who stands 13 hands high when upright, sustained a serious injury to his drinking arm when he punched a road sign following a mid-week session at Doncaster.

Malley said: “Luckily he was still able to grab people round the neck and force them to sing Wild Colonial Boy.

A spokesman for the organisers said: “The drinkers love it. You can see the enjoyment in their eyes and to stop them doing it would be going against nature.”