The first airstrike ever launched from an unmanned drone was a failure. On October 7, 2001—the first night of the war in Afghanistan—a CIA Predator drone buzzed above a compound where Taliban leader Mullah Omar and his senior commanders were gathered.
But rather than decapitating the Taliban leadership, the strike only blew up a truck parked outside. Alerted to the danger, Omar and his commanders fled into the night.
Despite the outcome, the mission was a watershed moment. Some 16 years later, drone technology has revolutionized the way the U.S. fights wars. Drone technology is used on battlefields on land, at sea, and will soon even be in space.
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