You've pressed the X button countless times to detonate virtual bombs, but the Taliban is using thrown-out video game technology, like a PlayStation controller, to ignite real incendiaries 7,000 miles away in Afghanistan.
Veteran war correspondent for Fox News Channel Steve Harrigan discovered that militants got their hands on a familiar game controller-turned-detonator while he was embedded with U.S. and Afghan troops last year in Jaji, Afghanistan. There, troops raided a suspected bomb-making house thanks to an Afghan informant who was paid $2,000.
?A farmer's house, in a locked shed: jackpot,? he exclaims before almost poetically listing what troops found inside. ?Rockets, grenades, artillery and tank shells, plastic explosives, timers and wiring devices. It is an enemy they can build weapons even out of garbage."
The garbage Harrigan refers to includes a clear-blue original PlayStation controller, one that's so old it pre-dates the dual analog sticks.
?Something as simple [that] a solider may've thrown out, because their Sony PlayStation was broken, can be used as an initiator device,? explains an unidentified U.S. Army Ranger who was holding the controller and involved in the operation.
Jaji Maydan, the village where the control pad was found, is in the remote, Taliban-filled reaches of eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. Being so isolated, the troops had to forgo taking their new MRAP and ASV armored vehicles and travel on foot.
Harrigan, an award-winning journalist who joined Fox News in 2001 as a Middle East correspondent and, before that, worked out of CNN's Moscow bureau for 10 years, always seems to pop up in the most chaotic corners of the Earth to report breaking news in a fashion that's akin to Ernie Pyle.
?On foot, with 70 pounds of body armor, a 20-pound pack and sometimes a mortar base to boot. Across streams, over mountains, past nervous villagers. Four hours later, they reach the place the Taliban thought was out of range for U.S. troops,? he recites, again, almost poetically retelling what went into traveling to this remote location.
As morbidly creative and desperate as it was to use a PlayStation controller as a detonator, demolition experts rendered the explosives stockpile that it was found with harmless.
?Every time we can take this out of the enemy's hands, it allows one of our Brothers to live,? commented a U.S. Army Ranger.