JERUSALEM WHILE Israeli soldiers cant fight in the war in Afghanistan, Israeli drones can. Starting next week, five NATO member countries will be operating unmanned aerial vehicles produced in the Jewish state in anti-Taliban operations in the Central Asian country The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper reported. Next week, officials from the German military will arrive to take delivery of an undisclosed number of Heron UAVs, made by Israel Aerospace Industries, the paper reports. The Heron is a medium altitude long eandurance UAV that can remain airborne for more than 30 hours with a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, and can carry a payload of 250 kg. It has a wingspan of 16.6 meters, a takeoff weight of 1,200 kg and an operational range of several hundred kilometers. It can carry a variety of sensors used for surveillance and target identification. Germany is the fifth country to operate Israel Aerospace Industries UAVs in Afghanistan. In December, the Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of several Heron systems, joining Spain, France and Canada that already operate the platform. According to another news, General David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, said that the new American-led surge in Afghanistan would take longer to fight the insurgency than a similar injection of force in Iraq three years ago when violence fell sharply within months. He warned that the fight in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where British and US forces are based, as well other areas, would become even tougher before the situation improved. Meanwhile, Taliban in North Waziristan rewarded one of their fighters with a new model car for shooting down the US drone on Sunday evening. Also, Government officials in the restive tribal region finally confirmed the downing of the US spy aircraft by Taliban militants. The militants led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur had claimed on Sunday shooting down the drone in Hamzoni village. Tribal sources in Miramshah said the militants congratulated each other on Monday for shooting down the drone, known as 'bangana locally due to the thundering sound of the pilot-less aircraft.