Further light has been shed on the pervasive use of Israeli weapons in Afghanistan as US troops pull out in what is seen as an embarrassing defeat for the west. Israeli-made drones and weapons were being used to hunt down the Taliban during the two-decade-long war, the Jerusalem Post has reported.
Although Israeli arms manufacturers have remained silent on the use of their products, details of the ubiquity of their weapons in the war-torn central Asian country have started to emerge. Countries like Britain, Germany, Canada, and Australia, who are all NATO members, are said to have used Israeli weapons for years. Israeli drones are amongst the popular arms purchases from the occupation state.
Since 2005, the Australian Army in Afghanistan has also flown the Skylark 1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufactured by Elbit Systems. In May, however, it was reported that the government in Canberra had told Elbit that its armed forces would stop using its Battle Management System (BMS) from mid-June.
Elbit Systems is often the target of campaigns by human rights groups. The Israeli firm produces surveillance technology for the illegal Separation Wall in the occupied West Bank and is said to manufacture the engines for 85 per cent of the country’s military drones, among other weapons components. The Israeli arms manufacturer is said to have supplied 85 per cent of the drones used in the war on Gaza in 2014, when over 2,200 Palestinians – 500 of them children – were killed in only 50 days. The company has ten sites in Britain.
Greater awareness of Elbit’s role in human rights violations and alleged war crimes has tarnished the company’s image. In February, East Sussex Pension Fund was the latest to divest from Israeli firms months after human rights activists lobbied the fund to bring an end to its ties to companies which violate international law.
The Jerusalem Post also commented on reports that Israeli troops were sent to Afghanistan in 2019 to collect intelligence on Iranian military movements. Apparently, they were sent to the Afghan border with Iran and collected intelligence on such movements around the Persian Gulf.
Russia’s Sputnik News stated at the time that the Israelis were operating “under the flags of the United States and the United Arab Emirates.” Sputnik quoted one expert as saying that the Israeli troops were operating under the framework of American forces stationed there and that the activity was carried out with the knowledge and approval of the now-deposed Afghan government.
With the Taliban returning to power and likely to form the next government in Afghanistan, Israel’s role in the 20-years of the US invasion and occupation is very likely to shape the movement’s stance on the apartheid state.