U-S Defense officials say an unmanned remote controlled U-S spy plane has been used for the first time in combat missions over Afghanistan.
Pentagon officials say the (R-Q-ONE) Predator spy plane, which is normally used for reconnaissance, is armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles.
The Washington Post (newspaper) says ground controllers in the United States operated the plane by remote control as it flew thousands of kilometers away in Afghanistan.
Use of the unmanned spy plane was first reported earlier this week in New Yorker magazine. The magazine says an unmanned Predator plane, armed with anti-tank missiles, recently identified a convoy in Afghanistan believed to be carrying Taleban spiritual leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
But the report said U-S authorities recommended against targeting him -- despite a vow by President Bush to destroy Osama bin Laden, his al-Qaida network and those who support it.
Military experts say the main value of the Predator drone is its ability to analyze intelligence almost as quickly as it is gathered. The aircraft carries two video cameras and can stay aloft for 40 hours.