Taliban in our sights?
Editor's note: This story has evolved since this original posting. Click here for the latest and to see the photo in question.
KABUL, Afghanistan - In this country, just a tad smaller than President Bush’s home state of Texas, Taliban influence is on the rise. The U.S. military admits difficulty tracking their fighters in Afghanistan’s remote mountains. It’s why U.S. intelligence officers are so upset by a recent lost opportunity.
The picture above, declassified at NBC News' request, shows 190 members of the Taliban at a funeral. It’s believed by U.S. Army officers that several of those gathered were top Taliban leaders. But the U.S. was unable to take out the men standing in formation.
Why? Under the rules of engagement, the U.S. cannot bomb a cemetery.
One officer involved says, "We were so excited. I came rushing in with the picture." But in the end, that excitement turned to frustration. The unmanned Predator drone, flying undetected overhead, continued to feed back pictures as the Taliban dispersed, heading off in tiny groups, too small to effectively target.
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