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, January 15, 2008

War News for Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Photo: An oil refinery on the outskirts of Basra. A blast at an oil refinery in the Iraqi city of Basra triggered a fire which injured four people, an oil ministry official said, adding that the blaze was swiftly brought under control.

The Toronto Star is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan today Tuesday, January 15. One other soldier was wounded in the attack according to an ISAF news release. No other details were released. Canada has most of the troops in this area.

Security incidents:

#1: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met top Iraqi officials in Baghdad today.

#2: Seven people, including two policemen, were wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off in central Baghdad on Tuesday morning, police said. The IED, planted by unidentified gunmen on the main road in the central Baghdad district of al-Karrada, went off as a police patrol was passing by on Tuesday morning, wounding seven including two patrol policemen and causing damage to another civilian vehicle," a security source, who preferred not to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#3: Around 8:30 a.m. two roadside bombs exploded near the national theater in central Baghdad. The first bomb targeted civilians injuring six civilians. The second bomb targeted police patrols that rushed to the place injuring two police officers.

#4: The head of a neighbourhood police unit in central Baghdad's Fadhil district was killed and six people were wounded in clashes with insurgents, police said.

#5: Four mortar shells and one rocket slammed into the Green Zone today, Iraqi police said. The U.S. military said they have not received reports of any injuries.

#6: Police found bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Baladiyat, one in Camp Sara, two in Waziriyah, two in Saidiyah.

#7: Five school children were killed Tuesday when a car in the convoy of a top judicial official accidentally ran them over while on their way to school in a central Baghdad neighborhood, police and hospital officials said. They said the children, ages 6 to 10, were run over in the panic that ensued when the official's guards exchanged fire with police at a checkpoint when the convoy failed to stop.

#1: a fire broke out early Tuesday in a major oil refinery in the southern city of Basra, the Iraqi oil ministry said. Four workers suffered burns. "This is what caused the fire and led to the leakage of a huge amount of liquid gas as the blaze hit the gas production unit," al-Shahristani said in a statement. He added that his ministry "had warned many times against aircraft flying above oil institutions and especially refineries." The fire at the Shuaiba refinery started at 7 a.m. "due to an explosion," said Assem Jihad, the Oil Ministry spokesman.

Iraq's southern Shuaiba oil refinery has been shut down "until further notice" after a mortar attack sparked a huge fire that damaged its gas and fuel production units, a source at the Southern Oil Company said on Tuesday. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the refinery had been shut as a precautionary measure.

"The first report indicates that the fire at the refinery was caused by the hovering of a coalition forces helicopter above the refinery. This caused the eruption of a huge fire and a loss of a huge quantity of gas," Shahristani said.
A Multi-National Force (MNF) aircraft was behind the blaze that tore through al-Sheiaba oil refinery, west of Basra, during the early hours of Tuesday morning, a spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said. "A chopper belonging to the coalition forces was behind the huge blaze that ripped through al-Sheiaba oil refinery in southern Iraq on Tuesday," Aasem Jihad told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI). Earlier today, a local official from Basra province raised speculations that the fire was the result of an "act of sabotage." "Explosions, which could be either explosive charges or Katyusha rockets, were heard before the fire broke out," the source said, adding "the fire started in two fuel-producing units and then spread to other parts of the refinery."

#2: A British pilotless reconnaissance plane went down in Basra International Airport as a result of bad weather conditions," an MNF media spokesman, southern Iraq, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI). The accident did not cause any damage to the airport's facilities, the spokesman indicated.

#1: Police and a concerned local citizens patrol killed a man who was wearing a vest packed with explosives in Shirqat, 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: In a separate incident in Shirqat, a bomb on a truck carrying onions killed one policeman and wounded eight others, police said.

As security forces rushed to the scene, another suicide bomber driving an explosive-laden truck approached the checkpoint, but the policemen opened fire on the truck before reaching them and blew it up, the source said. The second attack resulted in the killing of a policeman and the wounding two others and six civilians, he added.

#1: A police major was injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near his car in Kirkuk's southwestern district of al-Huweija," an official source from Kirkuk's operations room, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq-

#1: The Kirkuk police operations room chief survived an attempt on his life when his motorcade came under attack with an improvised explosive device (IED) in central Kirkuk, an official police source in the province said on Tuesday.

#1: A police force in Ninewa detonated a car bomb in eastern Mosul and set fire to a vehicle loaded with explosive devices and mortar shells in the eastern part of the province, police said."Policemen detonated a car bomb parked in a street in the neighborhood of Nablus, western Mosul, with no casualties reported," Col. Abdul-Kareem al-Juburi, the Ninewa police operations room chief, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) on Tuesday.

#2: A civilian who was kidnapped last week was found dead in eastern Mosul, a police source said on Tuesday." Police patrols found this afternoon a civilian body in al-Intasar neighborhood in eastern Mosul," the source, who asked to remain anonymous, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq

#2: Also, Iraqi policemen opened fire at another vehicle loaded with explosive devices and mortar shells, setting it on fire at al-Mithaq neighborhood, eastern Mosul, without any casualties reported," said Juburi.

Dahuk Prv:
#1: Turkish warplanes and artillery on Tuesday hit remote areas of northeastern Iraq used by Kurdish rebels but there were no reports of casualties or serious damage, an Iraqi Kurdish official said. Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for the Peshmerga security forces of northern Iraq, said Turkish artillery began shelling around the town of Amadiya in Dahuk province just before midday (0900 GMT). Turkish warplanes later bombed near the town of Hakurk close to Iraq's remote, mountainous border with Iran and Turkey.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: A rocket targeted Fallujah police directorate missed its target and hit a residential house causing damages to the house and no casualties. Police said ten suspects were detained from Al Masalma area southern Fallujah were the rocket was launched from.

#1: A Filipina spa supervisor at Kabul's Serena Hotel died Tuesday following the Monday night attack by Taliban militants on the establishment, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Tuesday.

#2: Norwegian journalist Carsten Thomassen was killed in a terrorist attack on Monday in Afghan capital Kabul, according to a statement posted on the Norwegian Foreign Ministry website

#3: The U.S. State Department said that one American, not a government employee, was killed in the attack. The victim's name was not released because relatives had not been notified.

#4: An Afghan interior ministry spokesman said six security guards were killed in the attack

#5: There was confusion over the death toll. Saleh said three Americans and a French woman were among those killed, but the U.S. Embassy said only one American citizen died. The French embassy was not aware of any French casualties. The Serena spokesman said three hotel employees and two guards were killed during the attack. Officials have said an American citizen and a Norwegian reporter also died, and the Philippines Foreign Affairs Department said a Filipina spa supervisor wounded in the attack died on Tuesday.

#6: A roadside bomb blast triggered by remote-control has killed two tribal elders, including a former provincial governor, in Tirin Kot district of southern Afghanistan's Uruzgan province, the police said Tuesday. "The two were heading towards their houses from a mosque at around 7:00 p.m. (1430 GMT) Monday when the bomb exploded," Uruzgan's police chief Juma Gul Himat told Xinhua. Fazl Rabi once served as Uruzgan governor during the Mohammad Najibullah regime in the 1990s and deputy governor of Uruzgan in 2003-2004, Himat said.

Casualty Reports:

Joe Weeren has a severe concussion, but at least he's alive after an explosion in Iraq that killed six American soldiers and an interpreter. Weeren, a sniper team leader, was cited for his efforts in the rescue of four military colleagues who were badly wounded when they were lured into a house north of Baghdad that had been booby-trapped.

Brandon Taylor hurt both his heels and ankles in Iraq last month in a roadside bomb blast. He had extensive surgery at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington DC.

Here is a very well written account of an IED attack experienced by Middle East Times reporter Richard Tomkins.