The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Thursday, August 23, 2007

War News for Thursday, August 23, 2007

Photo: Electrical wires span the streets in Baghdad, fed by private generators whose owners are keeping power out of the central grid. (Marko Georgiev for The New York Times)


1) MNF-Iraq is reporting what would appear to be a second Multi-National Division - Baghdad death from enemy action west of Baghdad on Wednesday, August 22nd. This particular release reports four soldiers injured in the attack.

(2) CENTCOM is reporting the death of a Task Force Marne soldier. He was apparently wounded in an improvised explosive device attack that happened on July 22nd, likely just south of Baghdad. His exact date and place of death is not given, so we are assuming a death date of Wednesday, August 22nd, until more is revealed.

(3) The DoD has announced a new death, one not previously reported by CENTCOM. Army Private 1st Class Donovan D. Witham, 20, of Malvern, Arkansas, died on Tuesday, August 21st, near Baghdad of wounds suffered in a roadside bombing. His unit, the 1st Squadron of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment (82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, NC) has been operating in the Sadr City area in east Baghdad.

(4) The DoD is announcing a new death in Afghanistan, not previously reported by either CENTCOM or NATO: Army Specialist George V. Libby, 23, of Aberdeen, North Carolina. Libby died in a non-hostile, unspecified incident near Khowst in Khowst Province on Monday, August 20th. He was a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment out of Fort Lewis, WA. According to a brief press release from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Libby had enlisted in the army in March of 2005, and had completed his Ranger Indoctrination Program training in September of that year. He is survived by his wife, his parents and one brother.

(5) The Canadian Department of National Defense has announced the deaths of two of their soldiers in a roadside bombing about 50 km west of Kandahar City in the Zharey District of Kandahar Province in Afghanistan on Wednesday, August 22nd. Their names and units are not being released at this point. An Afghan interpreter was also killed in the blast ... and a Canadian soldier and two Canadian journalists were injured and airlifted to a medical facility for treatment.


#1: A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed and four others wounded during combat operations in an area west of the Iraqi capital Aug. 22.

#2: A Task Force Marne Soldier died of wounds sustained after an improvised explosive device attack July 22 .

#3: a civilian was killed and five others injured in a car bomb attack in western Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said. "A car bomb parking near a coffee shop in the al-Washash neighborhood detonated around midday, killing a civilian and wounding five others," the source told Xinhua news agency.

#4: Police said they found bodies of 15 people in different districts of Baghdad on Thursday.

#5: The U.S. forces killed one insurgent and detained 10 others during operations in the cities of Baquba, Baiji and Mosul targeting al-Qaeda weapons and leadership networks, the U.S. military said

#5: Two people were killed and four wounded by a mortar attack in northern Baghdad, police said.

#6: A roadside bomb near a parking lot killed a man and wounded four others in New Baghdad district in eastern Baghdad, police said

#7: Armed groups increasingly control the antiquated switching stations that channel electricity around Iraq, the electricity minister said Wednesday. That is dividing the national grid into fiefs that, he said, often refuse to share electricity generated locally with Baghdad and other power-starved areas in the center of Iraq.

#8: Around 8 a.m., mortars hit the Green Zone ( IZ) . No casualties reported.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Suspected al-Qaida fighters attacked a Sunni village east of Baqouba on Thursday and killed a village leader who had led the community in an uprising against the terrorist organization, witnesses and police said. At the same time Timim, a nearby Shiite village, came under attack, again by suspected al-Qaida fighters. A total of 15 people, including seven women, were killed and 22 wounded in the two assaults, said Baqouba police Brig. Ali Dlaiyan. Ten attackers were killed as villagers fought back, he said. A joint U.S.-Iraqi force had blocked the region. The attack by about 25 gunmen on the Ibrahim al-Yahya village began at 6:30 a.m. when the fighters exploded a bomb at the house of Sheik Younis al-Shimari, destroying his home and killing him and one member of his family. Ten people were wounded, including four other members of the family and passers-by. Some of the wounded were hit by gunfire.

Fighters kidnapped 15 Iraqi women and children after rival Sunni Arab militants repelled their attack on two villages in a fierce battle today in which 32 people were killed, police said. About 200 al-Qaeda fighters raided the villages of Sheikh Tamim and Ibrahim Yehia in restive Diyala province, north of Baghdad, in the early hours of today after launching a mortar attack on the area, police said. Brigadier-General Ali Delayan, the police chief of Baquba, said that 22 residents had been killed in the fighting along with 10 al-Qaeda fighters.

#2: A police vehicle rushing to the attack scene crashed and two policemen were killed, according to officials in the Diyala provincial police force who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

#1: Two Iraqi civilians were killed and 5 others wounded from the same family in an attack in Kut. Three mortar shells struck a house, a police station and the police headquarters in the city, also injuring one police officer, the Voices of Iraq reported.

#1: The British forces killed two insurgents on Wednesday when their military convoy was attacked by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) in the southern city of Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, the British military said.

#1: A Coalition Outpost in northern Baghdad was attacked by two Suicide Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Devices August 22. The COP is manned by U.S. soldiers from 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and Iraqi soldiers from 3rd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division. The attack wounded eleven U.S. soldiers and four Iraqi Army soldiers.
Four Iraqi soldiers were killed. Eight of the U.S, wounded were transported to Camp Taji. The remaining three U.S. and four Iraqi soldiers were evacuated to a medical facility.

#1: The bodies of two people were found, bound and with gunshot wounds, in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Gunmen killed a member of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party along with his driver in a drive-by shooting in the northern city of Mosul, police said

#1: Five people were killed in clashes between the security forces and the militants in northwestern Pakistan's tribal region on Thursday, the private News Network International (NNI) news agency reported. The armed clash took place at a busy market in Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan tribal region, bordering Afghanistan. Three staff members of a local hospital and a passer-by woman were among the killed in the clashes, the NNI quoting locals' report. The militants attacked a check post of the security forces near the Miranshah market with automatic weapons and the security forces returned fire.

#2: Taliban militants ambushed a convoy carrying supplies for NATO-led troops in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 10 Afghan guards, an official with the convoy said. The trucks were attacked near Qalat city, in Zabul province, as they were traveling on the main Kabul-Kandahar highway, said Mohammad Salim, an official with the private security company, who witnessed the attack.
#3: Insurgents detonated a roadside bomb next to a convoy carrying the police chief in Afghanistan's violence-plagued Helmand province on Thursday, killing three civilians and wounding 13 others. The bomb was triggered by remote control in the town of Gereshk when Helmand police chief Mohammad Hussein passed by in a convoy of several cars, said Hussein, who was not hurt in the attack. Five of the injured were in critical condition, he said.


Casualty Reports:

Cleveland (Ohio) station WKYC is reporting the death of 20-year-old Army soldier Joshua Harmon in the crash of a Blackhawk helicopter north of Baghdad on Wednesday, August 22nd. He is the son of the fire chief of Willoughby Hills, near Cleveland, and had just recently been married.

Seattle (Washington) station KIRO-TV has learned that the 4-man crew and the helicopter that crashed in Iraq on Wednesday, August 22nd, were assigned to the 4th Squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry based out of Fort Lewis, WA. The craft went down in At Ta'mim Province, the province surrounding the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. The article states that CBS News is reporting that "800 yards into the flight the helicopter's tail rotator malfunctioned, causing it to go into an uncontrollable spin and crash into rough terrain."

(1) Media outlets are now confirming that the 10 passengers who died in the crash of a Blackhawk helicopter near Kirkuk, Iraq, on Wednesday, August 22nd, were assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, out of Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. The four crewmen were based out of Fort Lewis, WA.

(2) The Muskegon (Michigan) Chronicle has identified the first of the crewmen killed in the August 22nd chopper crash: Matthew Tallman, 30, of California. He was one of the two crew chiefs and was based out of Fort Lewis, WA. At the time of the accident, he had been in Iraq for two months ... but had served a year-long deployment to Afghanistan prior to that. Tallman was an only child whose father preceded him in death. His mother still resides in California. He also leaves behind a wife who was once herself in the military ... and the couple's 1-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.

(3) The Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times has identified one of the passengers on the Blackhawk that crashed August 22nd: Garrett McLead, 23, of Rockport, Texas. McLead joined the army after high school graduation in 2002, and according to his friends, went from a moppy-haired teen to a clean-cut soldier overnight. An enthusiastic soldier, he re-enlisted when his first term was through. McLead was a member of the First Baptist Church of Rockport, and also played varsity tennis and soccer in high school.

(4) The Associated Press has identified another of the Schofield Barracks passengers who died in the crash of a Blackhawk chopper on August 22nd: Army Specialist Nathan Hubbard, 21, of Clovis, California. This particular death is doubly painful as Hubbard is the second son his parents have now lost to the war in Iraq. Hubbard's older brother, Marine Lance Corporal Jared Hubbard, died in a roadside bombing in Ramadi in 2004. Nathan and his other brother Jason both joined the Army together in 2005 after their older brother's death. Jason Hubbard will now be returning home to be with his family.

(5) The Jacksonville (Florida) station WJXT has identified another soldier who died in the crash of the Blackhawk chopper near Kirkuk, Iraq, on August 22nd: Army Captain Corry Paul Tyler, of Woodbine,Georgia. The Associated Press has confirmed in a separate article that Tyler had been living in Puyallup, Washington, prior to his deployment. Therefore he was assigned to Fort Lewis, WA, and was a member of the crew, likely one of the pilots. A friend described Tyler as an extraordinary man who graduated at the top of his high school class ... and then went on to graduate from West Point. As the sole male survivor in his family (his father had passed away just last year), Tyler was not required to return to Iraq, but volunteered for his third tour of duty anyway. He is survived by his wife and three small children.

(6) A joint article from the Associated Press and Cape Girardeau (Missouri) station KFVS, and also a portion of an article published by the Honolulu Advertiser, have identified Army Specialist Ricky Bell, 21, of Caruthersville, Missouri, as the door gunner on the helicopter that crashed near Kirkuk on August 22nd. He was based out of Fort Lewis, WA. Bell was described by friends and teachers alike as "someone who made people laugh" ... "he was always laughing, getting kids in good moods ..." He joined the Army after high school graduation in 2005. He had been in Iraq since June was due to come home on leave in September.

(7) The Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader has identified another of the 14 Blackhawk crash victims from August 22nd: Army Specialist Jesse Pollard, 21, of Springfield. An aunt described Pollard as "a very tall, good-looking young man" who was eager to pursue a military career. He had graduated from high school in 2003, playing football and basketball while there. Once in the military Pollard received training as a paratrooper and also as an Army Ranger. On leaves, he would regale his friends and relatives with stories of jumping out of planes in the dead of night. As luck would have it, he was allowed leave last July to visit his family for two weeks before returning to Iraq.

(8) The Associated Press is reporting the name of another soldier who died aboard the Blackhawk chopper that crashed in Iraq on August 22nd: Phillip J. Brodnick, 25, of New Lenox, Illinois. Brodnick was the son of a Burbank, Illinois, police officer. In fact, he had lived in Burbank until age 8 at which point his family moved to the New Lenox area.

(9) The Altoona (Pennsylvania) Mirror is reporting the death of a local man in the August 22nd Blackhawk crash in Iraq: Army Specialist Michael A. Hook, 25, of Altoona. Hook was a defensive lineman and letterman in high school, graduating in 2001. He enlisted in the Army about two years ago after working for some years for an Altoona roofing contractor. Hook was based at Schofield Barracks, HI. His family threw a party for him before he left for Iraq last year. He was especially looking forward to returning home in September because his fiance is pregnant.
(10) The Boston (Massachusetts) station WCVB has identified another of the 10 Schofield Barracks, HI, soldiers who died in a chopper crash near Kirkuk, Iraq, on August 22nd: Jeremy Bouffard, 22, of Middlefield, Massachusetts. Friends and family have said that Bouffard had only recently been deployed to Iraq ... and that his own father, an Army National Guardsman, had only recently returned from a deployment to Kuwait. Bouffard was married and has a young child.

Canada's CTV is reporting the identities of the two Canadian soldiers who died in a roadside bomb blast 50 km west of Kandahar City in Afghanistan on Wednesday, August 22nd:
Master Corporal Christian Duchesne of the 5th Field Ambulance out of Valcartier, Quebec
Master Warrant Officer Mario Mercier of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment out of Quebec City, Quebec