British troops in Afghanistan's Helmand Province will in future eye donkeys with suspicion after the Taliban strapped an improvised explosive device to an unfortunate beast of burden and sent it "galloping" towards a military camp.
Major Richard Streatfeild, of the 3rd Battalion the Rifles Regiment, said the insurgents had "really outdone themselves" with the four-legged assault in the Sangin Valley. He reported: "Fortunately the gate guard noticed something suspicious when a group of men let the donkey go a short way from the camp and then hurried off.
"He tried to divert the animal but it eventually had to be stopped with a rifle shot. A team went out and realised there was something supicious under the hay."
One soldier set fire to the hay with a flare, the Telegraph explains, provoking a "considerable explosion", but without casualties. Streatfeild said: "No-one was hurt thanks to the swift action taken and they were saved from a very unusual attack."
Streatfeild said Afghan Army soldiers had already tipped off the Brits about the possibility of donkey-borne assaults. This intelligence has top brass worried the Taliban are now resorting to "desperate methods" in their attacks on the occupying forces.
Streatfeild concluded: "It is impossible to report a donkey IED up the chain of command without either a wry smile at the ridiculousness or a feeling that the world is slightly off its axis." ®
God help the Taliban when PETA gets wind of this. Expect a poster campaign with a naked Playboy model astride a visibly-happy donkey, her modesty protected by a strategically-placed AK47, under the persuasive anti-cruelty strapline: "I'd rather go bareback than blow up my ass."