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U.S. and Western militaries in Afghanistan purchased more than $1 billion in Israeli weapons to fight the Taliban

Israeli-made drones logged thousands of flight hours in Afghanistan and were used for combat and support roles as well as reconnaissance

Illustrative: Israeli-made drone, Heron-1 (Photo: Israel Aerospace Industries)

While Israeli soldiers have never officially been on the ground in Afghanistan, Western forces used several different types of Israeli-made weapons during the past two decades against the Taliban.

Western militaries from countries like Germany, Great Britain, Australia and Canada have all deployed Israeli weapons systems in Afghanistan, according to The Jerusalem Post, and the Jewish state has emerged as something of a military-technology powerhouse in the international arena. 

In the 1980s, Israel pioneered drone technologies during the first Lebanon War and established itself as a leading exporter of the devices for both military and civilian purposes. Drones were one of the main Israeli weapons systems that Western militaries used in Afghanistan.

The German Air Force deployed advanced Israeli Heron drones in Afghanistan in 2010. The Heron drones are produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), one of Israel’s leading military companies. The IAI drones logged thousands of flight hours in Afghanistan and were used for combat and support roles as well as reconnaissance. German pilots reportedly received training in Israel on how to operate the drone and learning more about its intelligence capabilities. The militaries of Australia and Canada also deployed IAI Heron drones during their operations in Afghanistan.

The IAI drones were not the only Israeli-made military assets flying over Afghanistan in the war against the Taliban. The Australian military also flew the Skylark 1; an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) produced by the Israeli military technology company Elbit Systems. The Skylark mini UAV was used for tactical surveillance and close-range counter-terrorism operations. With a flying range of 10 to 15 kilometers, a quiet engine and excellent live video surveillance capabilities, the Skylark played a prominent role in the war against the Taliban. 

In addition to drones and UAVs, Canadian and British militaries used the Israeli-manufactured Spike NLOS (Non Line Of Sight) missile system, developed by the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. With its high precision, a range of 25 kilometers and capability of penetrating 39 inches of armor, the Israeli missile proved useful in battles with the Taliban. It was particularly effective in targeting long-range hidden targets with pinpoint precision.  

It is estimated that the U.S. and its Western allies in Afghanistan purchased Israeli weapons systems for more than $1 billion during the past two decades of war against the Taliban. While the West’s war with the Taliban may have ended for now, business ties with Israeli defense companies were strengthened, which will likely lead to new military contracts in the future.  

While neither Washington nor Jerusalem have officially admitted it, there have been unconfirmed reports of Israeli military boots on the ground in Afghanistan. For instance, the Russian Sputnik News agency claimed that Israeli soldiers were operating “under the flags of the United States and the United Arab Emirates” in Afghanistan. If true, it would mean that the official Israeli-Emirati peace agreement, the Abraham Accords signed in 2020, was a natural upgrade to strong bilateral ties already established between the Jewish state and the UAE.

Iran’s Tasnim news agency also claimed that Israeli troops were reportedly collecting intelligence on Iranian troop movements while operating out of an American Air Force base in Shindand in western Afghanistan, some 75 kilometers from the Iranian border. 


The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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