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

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

War News for Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Photo: Map of Kurdish-populated areas in Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Turkey has told Iraq to crack down on Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq or face the consequences, as Baghdad called for urgent talks over Ankara's threat of a military incursion. Photo:/AFP

The DoD has announced a new death, not previously reported by CENTCOM. Army Sergeant 1st Class Justin S. Monschke, 28, of Krum, Texas, was killed in an improvised explosive device attack southeast of Baghdad in the vicinity of Arab Jabour in Babil Province on Sunday, October 14th. According to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Monschke was conducting a dismounted movement to a suspected enemy position when the bomb struck. Monschke began his military career in June of 1997 when he enlisted in the army and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. Eventually he not only served as an instructor at the U.S. Army Ranger Training Battalion in Dahlonega, GA, but also as a squad leader and Observer/Controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA. Monschke began his current assignment with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Bragg, NC, in April 2006. He is survived by his wife, a daughter, a son, a stepson and his parents.

The DoD is announcing another new death, not previously reported by CENTCOM. 1st Lieutenant Thomas M. Martin, 27, of Ward, Arkansas, died in a small arms fire attack in the vicinity of Al Busayifi (which we believe is southeast of Baghdad near Al Jabour in Babil Province) on Sunday, October 14th. Martin's unit, the 1st Squadron of the 40th Cavalry Regiment (25th Infantry Division out of Fort Richardson, AK), had been operating between Camp Falcon (at Rasheed Air Base in southeast Baghdad) and Arab Jabour in Babil as a part of Task Force Marne. [I'm really guessing on this one. Can't figure out where Al Busayifi is exactly, but it has to be down in Task Force Marne domain ... southern Baghdad, northern Babil Provinces. I'm betting it isn't far from Al Jabour in Babil ...]

The British Ministry of Defense is announcing the death of one of their soldiers supporting Operation Telic in Iraq. Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes, 26, from Wantage in Oxfordshire, England, was seriously injured while delivering mail on the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar when her car was involved in a collision with a truck on October 3rd. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital and was flown back to Britain from there. Unfortunately, she died of her injuries in Britain on Sunday, October 14th, with her next of kin at her bedside. Holmes enlisted in the British Army in 1997 and had seen deployments to Northern Ireland, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Kenya and Poland. She is described by those who knew her as completely "at home" in the army, and utterly dedicated to ensuring the timely delivery of mail to troops in the field. Holmes is survived by her parents and a brother.

The Danish Ministry of Defense is announcing the death of one of its soldiers in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. An English translation that describes the incident has been published by Deutsche Presse Agentur. Apparently, a Danish armored personnel carrier was hit by a mine early on Monday, October 15th, disabling it, but causing no injuries among the crew. 34 year old Major Anders Storrud was leading the unit which was towing the disabled vehicle in to base when they were attacked with mortars and possibly RPGs, seriously injuring Storrud. He was flown immediately to the field hospital at Camp Bastion where all efforts were undertaken to save his life. Unfortunately, he died on Tuesday morning, October 16th. Storrud was the head of a mechanised infantry unit serving in Helmand Province, part of the 1st Battalion of Den Kongelige Livgarde (The Royal Guards) based at Høvelte, Denmark. He had also been deployed to Afghanistan in 2004. The Danish media outlet lists his full name as Major Anders Johan Stærh Storrud. That outlet also mentions that Storrud was married with two minor children.

Security incidents:

#1: A car bomb exploded near an Iraqi army checkpoint in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least six people and sending black smoke billowing into the sky, officials said. In the car bombing, police said an explosives-laden car was parked near a gas station across the street from a checkpoint on Saadoun Street when it blew up just before noon. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, said four civilians and two Iraqi soldiers were killed and 25 people were wounded, including 19 civilians.

#2: In other violence Tuesday, three policemen were shot to death in a drive-by shooting against a checkpoint in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Zayouna.

#3: A cleaner was killed and five others wounded when an armed group opened fire at them in western Baghdad on Tuesday noon, the Iraqi police said. "Unidentified gunmen in two modern civilian vehicles fired a volley of bullets at workers cleaning al-Aadl street in western Baghdad," a security source, who declined to have his name mentioned, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

#4: A roadside bomb in the central Baghdad district of Karrada killed one civilian and wounded two, police said.

#5: Six mortar rounds killed one civilian and wounded 13 in the southern Doura district of Baghdad on Monday evening, the U.S. military said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A gunman believed to be al-Qaeda member was killed during clashes with local residents in a village in Diala, while a member in al-Ishreen (1920) Revolution Brigades was wounded when an explosive charge went off in the centre of the province, an official security source said on Tuesday.

#2: An Air Force bomb drop Oct. 15 destroyed a bridge northeast of Baghdad to disrupt weapons smugglers and insurgent movement. Air Force pilots dropped munitions, destroying a land bridge that spanned the Diyala River connecting Diyala Province to Baghdad.

#1: He also said a Polish helicopter came under machine-gun fire and two Polish soldiers were slightly wounded.

#2: Unidentified gunmen mortared Polish troops' ECHO camp in al-Diwaniya on Tuesday, a police source in the province said. "Unknown gunmen fired five mortars at the EHCO camp in Diwaniya," the source, who refused to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). The source did not say whether there were casualties amongst the Polish forces.

Babel Prv:
#1: Eight Scorpion Force and civil defense soldiers were wounded in an explosive device attack that targeted a Scorpion patrol in north of Babel on Tuesday morning, police said. "Five Scorpion soldiers in the patrol and three escorting civil defense soldiers were wounded in al-Iskandariya, (50 km) north of Babel province," a source from Babel police told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) on condition of anonymity.

#1: Gunmen shot to death two tribal leaders and two relatives in separate attacks west of Baghdad and in the southern city of Nasiriyah.

#1: The Army confirmed Monday that four soldiers with the 833rd Engineer Company were wounded in an IED attack over the weekend. None of the injuries are considered life-threatening. The attack took place at 9 a.m. Baghdad time on Saturday near Samarra. IEDs, improvised explosive devices, are a favorite way for insurgents in Iraq to attack convoys. The soldiers were all in a single vehicle when the attack happened. The soldiers received initial treatment at a military hospital near Balad. Two of the soldiers were treated and returned to duty. Two were later evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where they continue to receive treatment.

#1: Police said they had found a decapitated body in the town of Abbasi, 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Kirkuk.

#2: A roadside bomb killed two militants as they tried to plant the device in Abbasi, police said.

#1: (update) Four reporters for Iraqi media organizations were reported shot to death in ambushes near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. Near Hawija on Sunday, Ziyad Tareq Ahmed, a reporter for the Iraqi Sahrin newspaper in Tikrit, was ambushed by gunmen on a highway while traveling with two relatives who were police officers. All three were killed. Later in the evening, three reporters for the Watan newspaper were ambushed and killed by gunmen in two pick-ups southwest of Kirkuk, according to Col. Yakar Mohammed of the Kirkuk police.

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) on Tuesday said that reports spoke on the killing of three journalists working for al-Watan newspaper are not accurate, noting that the three were security staffs working for the paper not journalists.

#2: A body with gunshot wounds and signs of torture was found in northern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#3: Four members from one family was injured when an IED exploded near their house in Al Wasiti neighborhood in Kirkuk city yesterday night.

#4: Four gunmen kidnapped three civilians while the civilians were in a sedan car near Al Dogmat village south of Kirkuk city yesterday evening.

#5: A roadside bomb wounded two truck drivers in northern Kirkuk, police said.

#1: Also Tuesday, an Iraqi military commander announced that his forces had killed three militants in the al-Islah al-Zira district in west Mosul late Monday.

#2: Four policemen were killed and 30 people including seven policemen were injured in a suicide truck bomb that targeted Al Rimah police station in Al Sokkaer neighborhood north Mosul city north of Baghdad around 2,40 pm.

A suicide truck bomb targeting a police station killed at least four people and wounded 75 others in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

In the northern city of Mosul, a suicide bomber in a sewage pump truck detonated his payload as he approached a police station recently rebuilt after four previous attacks, police said. The blast collapsed most of the building, killing at least four policemen, including the station chief, and wounding 75 people, police said. Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed al-Waqqa said several nearby shops and cars were damaged.

#1: Police found a body of a young man near Gwiza mountain in Solaimaniyah city north Iraq. The local police of the city said that the man is a taxi driver called Aram Abo Bakir and he disappeared after leaving his house yesterday morning.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Gunmen killed tribal leader Sheikh Saleh Fezea Shneitar along with his son and nephew in a village just west of Baghdad, police said. The tribal leader was a member of the Sunni "Awakening" council fighting al Qaeda in the western province of Anbar.

#1: A DANISH NATO soldier wounded in a clash with Taliban rebels in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan has died of his injuries, Denmark's army command HOK said today. The soldier, Major Anders Johan Staerh Storrud, 34, was injured yesterday and evacuated to a British field hospital. He died early today, HOK said.

#2: Pakistani forces and fighters have reached a ceasefire in northwest Pakistan where fighting killed some 250 people last week, according to a tribal leader and officials. The Pakistani army lifted a curfew in the region on Tuesday after a tribal council brokered the truce on Monday in the area around Mir Ali near the Afghan border. A local intelligence official said security forces began withdrawing on Tuesday from five checkpoints between Mir Ali and Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan region.

Casualty Reports:

The DoD has identified the Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier who died in a vehicle rollover accident in southern Baghdad on Wednesday, October 10th: Specialist Frank L. Cady III, 20, of Sacramento, California. A brief article from Sacramento's News 10 station states that family members confirmed that Cady's vehicle rolled over several times and that the army is investigating the cause. According to his mother, Cady was always a top student in school, winning a prestigious Presidential Academic Achievement Award in the sixth grade that was signed by President Clinton. He graduated with honors from high school and then enlisted in the Army. His family described him as a "force of nature" for his energy and unpredictability. "He will be missed, loved ..."

The DoD has identified the Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier who was killed in a roadside bombing in south Baghdad on Sunday, October 14th: Private 1st Class Kenneth J. Iwasinski, 22, of West Springfield, Massachusetts. A brief article printed in the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican says that Iwasinski was from Belchertown, Massachusetts, and had been raised by his father and stepmother, living with them until he enlisted in the army in March 2006. He had already been deployed to Iraq for a year and would have been scheduled to return home shortly had his tour of duty not been extended. Iwasinski was the gunner in a Humvee when the bomb exploded, taking his life.

The DoD has identified the Task Force Lightning soldier who died from a non-hostile, unspecified cause in Tal Afar, Ninawa Province, on Sunday, October 14th: Specialist Jason B. Koutroubas, 21, of Dunnellon, Florida. Koutroubas was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion for 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Bliss, TX.