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 30, 2007

War News for Thursday, August 30, 2007

(1) MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Task Force Lightning soldier in an explosion near his vehicle in Diyala Province on Wednesday, August 29th.


Security incidents:

#1: The name of the contractor killed while working for the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville has been released. Frans Robert Brand, 34, from South Africa, was killed August 28 when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device. Brand worked as a security specialist for Armor Group Iraq, which is headquartered in London.

#2: A front group for al-Qa'ida in Iraq is claiming to have murdered a US Embassy employee in Baghdad. The Islamic State of Iraq has identified the man as Zaher Abdel Mohsin Abdel-Saheb, whom it identified as an embassy official.
It says he was killed on Saturday in revenge for "the Muslim women who are still captives in the prisons of Shi'ites and crusaders".The US Embassy says it is investigating the claim.

#3: A roadside bomb detonated on the highway near the Nahdha area in central Baghdad when police experts were trying to defuse it, wounding three of them, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Around 9.30 a.m., a roadside bomb was planted on Muhammad Al-Qasim route near Nahdha bus station in downtown Baghdad when police shot at it. It exploded injuring three policemen.

#4: The other roadside bomb went off in the industrial area of Sheikh Umer neighborhood, wounding four civilians, the source added. The blast damaged several nearby civilian cars and buildings, the source said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: One Task Force Lightning Soldier was killed by an explosion near his vehicle while conducting combat operations in Diyala province, August 29.

#1: The director of the Najaf oil depot was killed on Thursday by unidentified gunman north of the city of Najaf, while police forces foiled an attempt to take over a police station north of the city, a police source said.

#2: "Security forces in the city also foiled an attempt by gunmen at dawn to seize al-Haydariya police station, north of Najaf," the same source said. "The armed men clashed with the police forces for more than 15 minutes, and they fled only after back up arrived," he noted.

#1: Unknown gunmen burned two offices of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) in Babel province on Thursday morning, a police source said. "Two office of the SIIC were burned by unidentified gunmen in al-Hashimiya region, south of Hilla," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) on condition of anonymity."The attack left no casualties," the source also said.

#1: Wednesday night , a car bomb exploded at Nida'a neighborhood in downtown Kirkuk killing 3 people and injuring 7 others with four civilian damaged cars.

#2: Around 10 p.m. of Wednesday night , two gunmen were killed and burned while they were carrying a Katysha missile which exploded at Arafa neighborhood near Hassan Najim mosque before reaching the place planning to hit , Kirkuk police said opening an investigation of the accident and to know who were they and the side they belong to.

#1: It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a Gunner from 51 Squadron, RAF Regiment along with a civilian interpreter in Kandahar Province, southern Afghanistan today (local time), Thursday 30 August 2007. Two other Servicemen received minor injuries. Shortly after midnight local time, personnel from the Squadron were conducting a routine security patrol around Kandahar Airfield when one of their vehicles was caught in an explosion.


Casualty Reports:

(1) The DoD has identified the Multi-National Corps - Iraq soldier who died from enemy action in the vicinity of Kirkuk in northern Iraq on Tuesday, August 28th: Sergeant James S. Collins Jr., 35, of Rochester Hills, Michigan. He was assigned to the 303rd Military Police Company of the Army Reserve based in Jackson, Michigan.

(2) The DoD has identified the American soldier who died in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, Paktika Province, on Monday, August 27th: Army Private 1st Class Thomas R. Wilson, 21, of Maurertown, Virginia. Arlington (Virginia) station WJLA has published a brief piece stating that Wilson had enlisted in the Army less than a year ago and had been in Afghanistan for four months. His mother told the reporter through tears, "He was truly a wonderful human being and I loved him very much."

(3) The Scranton (Pennsylvania) Times-Tribune is reporting the deaths of the first two Pennsylvania Army National Guardsmen to die in Afghanistan:
Master Sergeant Scott Rowan Ball, 38, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Sergeant Jan M. Argonish, 26, of Scranton, Pennsylvania
Both were killed when their six-vehicle re-supply convoy was ambushed in Kunar Province on Monday, August 27th. A third American regular army soldier was also killed in the attack, but his identity has not been released yet. The Pennsylvania ANG website has posted a news release giving their deployed unit as the Headquarters & Headquarters Company of the 55th Brigade Forward.

The Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Patriot-News is reporting that Ball was at one time a regular army soldier who served in Gulf War I. He joined the Pennsylvania ANG in 1992. In 2000, Ball graduated from the State Police Academy and was assigned to a station in Philadalphia. He later served as a state trooper in Media, York and Chambersburg before joining the Carlisle station on July 6, 2002. At some point, Ball had also received an associates degree from Harrisburg Area Community College. In October of 2006, he was put on military leave and began training for deployment to Afghanistan in February to help in the training of Afghan troops there. Ball leaves behind his wife, a 10-year-old son, a 6-year-old daughter, and his mother.

According to the Scranton Times-Tribune piece, Argonish graduated from high school in 1999. Living in Scranton, he worked as a correctional officer at the U.S. penitentiary in nearby Waymart. He was on his third National Guard deployment in the past six years (including one tour of duty in Iraq), and was currently in Afghanistan helping to train, advise and execute missions with the Afghan army. A fellow guardsman said that Argonish was in one of the rear vehicles in the convoy, dying while laying down fire to protect fellow convoy personnel. Argonish is survived by an 8-year-old son, his parents and two sisters.