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

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

War News for Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Photo: Destroyed vehicles lie at the scene of a suicide bomb attack near a police station in Baiji, 112 miles north of Baghdad, August 22, 2007. (Sabah al-Bazee/Reuters)
(1) The Associated Press is reporting that 4 crewmen and 10 soldier passengers from Task Force Lightning died when their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed north of Baghdad early on the morning of Wednesday, August 22nd. Initial evidence indicates a mechanical failure of some kind and not an enemy attack.
(2) MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier from enemy action west of Baghdad on Wednesday, August 22nd. Three other soldiers were wounded in the attack.
#1: To the south in Iraq's capital city, four people were wounded when a car bomb exploded in a residential area shortly before noon Wednesday, according to Iraq's Interior Ministry. The attack in Baghdad's Mansour district targeted civilians, the ministry said.

#2: A civilian was killed and five others injured in a car bomb attack in western Baghdad on Wednesday, 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 on condition of anonymity.

#3: An Iraqi journalist said on Wednesday that an armed group set her free after holding her for four hours after she was kidnapped on her way from home to work in southern Baghdad.

#4: A road side bomb targeted a U.S. military convoy in Al Qanat St, Iraqi police said. No casualties were reported.

#5: Iraqi soldiers killed five suspected insurgents and detained 87 others across Iraq during the past 24 hours, the Defence Ministry said.

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

#1: several mortar rounds struck the center of Iskandriyah town, leaving five civilians wounded, including two women, and damaging several houses, the source added.

#2: Unidentified armed men showered a civilian with bullets in the al-Asriya village near Iskandriyah, killing him instantly before fleeing the scene," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#3: Separately, gunmen shot dead another civilian at a vegetable and fruit market in central Iskandriyah, some 50 km south of Baghdad, According to the source.

#1: Armed men stabbed a female professor to death in the Shi'ite city of Kufa, about 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: "Unknown gunmen opened fire against a policeman working for the criminal investigation department in al-Wehda neighborhood in eastern Kut on Tuesday night, killing him on the spot and fleeing to an unknown place," the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

#2: Meanwhile, the same source said "a truck driver was found dead in his vehicle in a marketplace in southeast Kut." "The body bore a bullet to the head," he also said, noting that the police were investigating the two incidents.

#3: Unidentified gunmen kidnapped the general director of the Wassit health department on Wednesday morning and took him to an unknown place, a media source said "Unidentified gunmen abducted Dr. Diyaa al-Din Jaleel Salem, the general director of the Wassit health department, after storming his office in central Kut, and took him to unknown place," the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

#1: Fourteen U.S. soldiers died Wednesday when their helicopter crashed in northern Iraq, according to a U.S. military statement. Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were on a night operation when one of the aircraft crashed," the military said. "Initial indications are that the aircraft experienced a mechanical malfunction. There were no indications of hostile fire. "The dead were all members of the Army's Task Force Lightning and included four Black Hawk crewmembers and 10 passengers. The task force typically operates in the Tikrit area, north of Baghdad..

#2: a roadside bomb targeting a police convoy killed at least two civilians and wounded 12 others when it exploded on a road in northern Iraq Wednesday, Tikrit police told CNN. Of the 12 wounded, seven were police officers and five were civilians, police said. The blast occurred on a road between Tikrit and Tuz Khurmato, located about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Tikrit.

A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed two policemen and wounded eight in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#3: The attack came a day after Tikrit's police chief was shot to death by gunmen, who broke into his house.

#4: The chief of the Touz Khormato police department escaped an attempt on his life when an explosive charge went off targeting his motorcade on Wednesday afternoon, killing a policeman and injuring three others including an officer, a security source said. "The chief of police of Touz Khormato, Abbas Mohammad, escaped an assassination attempt when an explosive charge was detonated targeting his motorcade this afternoon, killing a police man and wounding three more, including a colonel, on the main road between Tikrit and Touz Khormato city," the source, who preferred not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

Tuz Khormato:
#1: Two suspected insurgents were killed when a roadside bomb they were trying to implant exploded in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police sa

#1: at least 20 people were killed and 45 wounded when a suicide car bomb detonated outside a police building in the Iraqi town of Baiji, in Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad, police told CNN.

a suicide truck bomber targeted a police agency in northern Iraq, killing at least 27 people and wounding 65, police and hospital officials said. The attack occurred just before noon in Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, and many of the casualties were civilians, according to the officials. Those killed Wednesday included 18 policemen and nine civilians, while 20 officers and 45 civilians were wounded, the officials said.

#1: A car bomb exploded near a convoy carrying the head of Hawija city council, wounding two of his guards, in Hawija, 70 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, police said.

#1: The mayor of a village near the city of Kirkuk was killed on Wednesday morning by unidentified gunmen, a police source said. "Unidentified gunmen gunned down Ahmed Hassan, the mayor of the al-Kharba village in Riyadh district, southwest of Kirkuk, in front of his house," the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

#1: Forty-two people were injured during a car bomb attack targeted a U.S. patrol near the city of Mosul in the northern province of Nineveh, a provincial police source said on Wednesday. "A car bomb parking on a main road in Mosul's southwestern suburb of Ghizlani detonated Tuesday night near a passing U.S. patrol, wounding 42 people, including five policemen," Brigadier Abdul Karim al-Jubouri, head of the provincial police office, told Xinhua. Fifteen women were among the victims, al-Jubouri said, adding that it was unknown whether the U.S. troops sustained any casualty as the troops immediately sealed off the scene.

Tal Afaf:
#1: A roadside bomb exploded near workers laying water pipes, killing two and wounding five, on Tuesday in a village near the town of Tal Afar, about 420 km (260 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said.

#1: (update) One week after a series of truck bombs hit a poor rural area near the Syrian border, the known casualty toll has soared to more than 500 dead and 1,500 wounded, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, making it the bloodiest coordinated attack since the American-led invasion in 2003. Dr. Said Hakki, the director of the society, said Tuesday that local Red Crescent workers registering families for aid after the explosions near the town of Sinjar had compiled the new numbers, which dwarf the earlier estimates of at least 250 dead.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Police forces found a mass grave, where 300 bodies were dumped, in Zawbaa village, southeast of Falluja, a police source said on Tuesday.

Sulaimaniya Prv:
#1: The Iranian shelling on the southern borders of Qaleat Daza district in Sulaimaniya continued, the mayor of the district said on Wednesday. "The Iranian shelling started at 11:00 am on Tuesday on the border regions in Qalaat Daza, where Qandoula village came under shelling for several hours," Hussein Muhammad told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). "The shelling caused severe damage to the region and set farms on fire but without casualties," he added.

#2: a source from Iraq's Kurdistan Government said clashes broke out between the PKK fighters and the Iranian forces on the borderline between Iraq and Iran without giving further details about the clashes. The spokesman for the Peshmerga Ministry in Iraq's Kurdistan government told VOI be telephone "clashes were going on between elements from the PKK and the Iranian forces but we do not have information as to the casualties on both sides."

#1: Suspected militants attacked a military checkpoint in a remote tribal area of northwestern Pakistan before dawn Wednesday, triggering a shootout that left three soldiers dead, police said. The attack happened in the town of Bannu, about 30 miles east of Miran Shah, the main town in North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, said Mohammed Noor, a local police official. Noor said an unspecified number of attackers were either killed or wounded when the security forces returned fire. He provided no further details. However, a local intelligence official said the assailants used rockets, assault rifles and other munition to target the checkpoint, and that the exchange of fire continued for about 30 minutes.
#2: A provincial governor survived a suicide car bomb attack on his convoy in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said. The bomber rammed his vehicle into a convoy of cars carrying Arsallah Jamal, the governor of Khost province, but initial reports said that the governor was ``fine,'' said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary. It was not clear if there were any casualties as a result of the blast in the province, which borders Pakistan, and said local police chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub.

A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-packed car into the convoy of the governor of eastern Khost province on Wednesday, killing a security guard but missing his primary target, officials and medical sources. A doctor at the city hospital told AFP that seven other people including three civilians -- two of them teenage boys -- were injured in the attack in the provincial capital Khost and admitted for treatment.

#4: Elsewhere, two shepherd boys were killed in the cross-fire as police clashed with Taliban rebels in the restive south of the country on Tuesday, a police commander said. The children, from a nomadic tribe, died in fighting in Ghazni province, where Taliban militants have been holding 19 South Koreans hostage for more than a month.

#5: In other clashes, two policemen and four militants were killed in fighting in the eastern province of Paktika. The violence was the latest in an upsurge of Taliban-led unrest which has plagued Afghanistan since the hardline Islamic militia was ousted by a US-led invasion in late 2001.

#6: Taliban militants wearing Afghan army uniforms attacked a remote NATO base in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, leaving two Afghan soldiers dead and 11 alliance soldiers wounded, a statement from NATO said. The militants wearing Afghan army uniforms approached the NATO's forward operating base in mountainous Nuristan province, before launching the attack, the alliance said in a statement. The attack left two Afghan soldiers dead and 11 NATO troops wounded, it said. NATO did not identify the nationality of the wounded troops. Most of the troops in the east are American.

#7: Taliban insurgents attacked a camp housing Canada’s reconstruction team twice last week and both attacks were followed by exchanges of gunfire, the Canadian military said Tuesday. Lt.-Col. Bob Chamberlain said no Canadians were injured in the two attacks, which happened on Aug. 13 and 18. It’s the first time that Camp Nathan Smith, the base for much of Canada’s reconstruction and humanitarian work in Kandahar, has been attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, he said. There were also exchanges of fire during the attacks.