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, January 24, 2008

War News for Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Canadian DND is reporting the death of a Canadian ISAF soldier in an IED attack 35 km South-West of Kandahar City, Afghanistan on Wednesday, January 23. Two Canadian soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

Reporters Without Borders has voiced concern about the continuing detention of Rashid Majid Al-Sari, the editor of the biweekly newspaper "Al-Fatah", who was arrested by United States troops at hisBaghdad home on 18 January 2008. "Five days have gone by and we still do not know why Sari was arrested," the press freedom organisation said. "Unfortunately there has been no letup in arbitrary arrests and searches by U.S. soldiers. It is not known where Sari was taken after U.S. soldiers arrested him at his home in the northeast Baghdad district of Al-Shaab on January 18, confiscating his computer and personal files. His colleagues think he could have been taken to the Al-Shaab military base.

Security incidents:

#1: Also Thursday, a roadside bombing in central Baghdad killed two police officers and wounded six people, an Interior Ministry official said. The bombing, in Andalus Square, targeted a police patrol about 8 a.m. Three of the wounded were police and the other three were civilians.

#2: Two civilians were injured in an IED explosion in Ghadeer neighborhood east Baghdad around 4,00 pm.

#3: A civilian was injured in an IED explosion in Zafaraniyah district southeast Baghdad around 4,30 am.

#4: Police found three anonymous bodies in Baghdad today. Two bodies were found in Doura neighborhood in Karkh, the western side of Baghdad while the third body was found in Ma’amil neighborhood in Rusafa, the eastern side of Baghdad.

#1: A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed one civilian and wounded two others in Mahaweel, 75 km (45 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: One body was found in the town of Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Gunmen abducted seven oil tanker drivers on Wednesday near Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. The drivers were transporting oil from the Baiji oil refinery to western Anbar province.

#1: Gunmen on Thursday targeted a patrol of Delouyia awakening council in al-Mashru’a village, east of Delouyia, leaving four of the council members wounded”, Hameed al-Ahmed, the chief of Delouyia awakening council, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq (VOI).He added “the awakening council fighters and police forces, backed by U.S. helicopters, conducted a blitz in the accident site, clashing with the gunmen”.The tribal official pointed out “three gunmen were killed and two others arrested”.

#1: A suicide bomber killed Nineveh province's director of police in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, the U.S. military said. The bomber struck at the site of another deadly explosion the day before, killing the provincial police official and two other Iraqi officers, the U.S. military said. An Iraqi army soldier and a coalition forces soldier were also wounded in the attack.

A suicide bomber disguised as a policeman killed Mosul's police chief and two other officers on Thursday as they visited the scene of an earlier blast, Iraqi officials and the US military said. They said five policemen and a journalist were wounded in the attack, which prompted authorities in Iraq's main northern city to impose an immediate and indefinite ban on vehicle traffic. "Two Iraqi police were killed in the blast, and one Iraqi army and one coalition force soldier was injured. "Brigadier General Salah, the provincial director of police, was also killed in the blast.

#2: (update) The death toll from a bomb blast which obliterated a building in Iraq's main northern city of Mosul has risen to 34, with at least 217 people wounded, a provincial official said on Thursday. "More than 100 houses were damaged," Hisham al-Hamdani, head of the provincial council of Nineveh, of which Mosul is the capital, told AFP.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Police forces killed a suicide bomber trying to blow up himself outside the police station in Khalidiya town of Anbar province on Thursday, a security source said.

#1: At least eight policemen were killed Thursday during an operation by U.S.-led coalition troops in central Afghanistan, an Afghan official said. The officers died in the village of Ghariban in Ghazni province during an operation that included U.S. ground forces and airstrikes, said the deputy head of Ghazni's provincial council, Habeb-ul Rahman. It was unclear whether Afghan troops also took part in the raid. Two other villagers, including a woman, were killed in the clash, Rahman said. It was not immediately clear how the officers and civilians were killed. Afghan police officials in Ghazni province, who spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that policemen appeared to have been killed by airstrikes, which also destroyed several houses.

Nine police and two civilians were killed in an air strike by U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan, a provincial doctor said on Thursday, but the coalition said Taliban fighters had been killed. "Nine police, including an officer, two civilians, one of them a woman, were killed in the raid," he told Reuters. Five police were wounded, he said, adding they were in a vehicle patrolling the area when it was hit in the air strike.

#2: Separately, a soldier from the NATO-led force was killed and two were wounded when a blast hit their vehicle in southern Afghanistan, an alliance spokesman said on Thursday. He did not identify the victims of Wednesday's attack.

At approximately 1:40 p.m. local time (in Kandahar) today, one Canadian soldier who was part of a convoy was killed when the armoured vehicle he was in struck a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 35 km South-West of Kandahar City. Two Canadian soldiers were also injured.

#3: A Kiwi soldier has been injured in a helicopter accident in Afghanistan but the crash was not the result of enemy fire, according to the New Zealand Defence Force. The soldier, a member of the New Zealand peacekeeping force stationed in the troubled country, received minor injuries in the helicpoter crash, Captain Zac Prendergast said. No one else was injured in the accident.

Casualty Reports:

Brad Thomas, 22, suffered a serious head wound and other injuries Saturday from a roadside bomb during combat operations in Iraq. He was airlifted to American medical facilities in Germany, and his family remains hopeful he will pull through.

Specialist James Robak and his unit were searching homes in Sinsil, Iraq looking for bombs and Al Qaeda members. Along with Gaul, and four others, the explosion also killed sergeant first class Matthew Pionk of Eveleth, Minnesota. Robak was wounded as his sniper unit searched a suspected Al Qaeda compound for weapons. "I was on the roof along with two other guys, something set off the house and the whole house exploded," he said, "We lost six guys and four were injured and our [interpreter] was killed." Robak survived with a wounded leg and some minor cuts. For his father worrying comes with the job, but he was aware of the danger his son was facing before the explosion.