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

Friday, February 29, 2008

War News for Friday, February 29, 2008

#1: Around 7:40 a.m., a roadside bomb targeted a police commando’s patrol at the Meshtal intersection near New Baghdad neighborhood (east Baghdad).Two policemen were injured in that incident.

#2: Police found two dead bodies in Baghdad. One was found in Dora in southern Baghdad(Karkh bank)while the second one was found in Utafiyah in northern Baghdad(Risafa bank).

Diyala Prv:
#1: Thousands of members of neighbourhood police units have stopped work in one of Iraq's most dangerous provinces, Iraqi and U.S. military officials said on Friday. The mainly Sunni Arab units, widely known as concerned local citizens, or "CLCs", said they had disbanded altogether which would represent a major blow to U.S. and Iraqi efforts to pacify Diyala province.

#2: Around 10 a.m., a bomb house exploded when the Iraqi army raided it at Abu Khamees village (10 km south of Baquba) .One Iraqi soldier was killed in that explosion.

#3: The Iraqi army found two dead bodies of two former Iraqi officers in Al-Guba village (6km north of Baquba).

#1: The commander of the popular committees in Diala province survived an attempt on his life in central Baaquba district on Friday morning, an official source said. "An armed group attacked on Friday a headquarters of the popular committees in al-Tahrir neighborhood, central Baaquba, targeting commander Sabah Bashir, who survived unscathed," the source, who did not want to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#2: An Iraqi army soldier was injured on Friday during a security operation in south of Baaquba, an official security source said. "A force from the 5th division of the Iraqi army waged a crackdown operation in Abu Khamis village in Bahraz district, south of Baaquba," the source, requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq (VOI). "The forces came under armed group fire attack, during which one soldier was wounded," he added.

#1: Two bodies were salvaged from the Tigris River in north of Kut, a police source said on Friday."Policemen salvaged two bodies from the Tigris River," Captain Saleh al-Ubeidi told Aswat al-Iraq – voices of Iraq

#1: In the morning, police found Ahmed Khalaf’s body, the Hawija council member, who was kidnapped few days ago by gunmen .Police arrested four suspected to be involved in that kidnap and murder.

#1: In the morning, police found a female dead body whose name is Sameea Sofi near the Zab Bridge (west of Kirkukk).

#1: Gunmen kidnapped the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul on Friday from the northern Iraqi city and killed his driver and two companions, police said. "He was kidnapped in the al-Nour district in eastern Mosul when he left a church. Gunmen opened fire on the car, killed the other three and kidnapped the archbishop," a Mosul police official said.

#2: A man and his son were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Mosul on Friday, the official spokesman for the Ninewa operations said. "An improvised explosive device went off targeting a U.S. vehicle patrol near al-Dhubat district, eastern Mosul, killing a passing man and his 11-year-old son," Brig. Khalid Abdul Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq

#3: Police patrols found two bodies of a prosecutor and a lawyer handcuffed and riddled with bullets in Al-Qahira district, northern Mosul." Brig. Khalid Abdul Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq (VOI).The security official identified "the prosecutor as Abd Jassim Hanash al-Janabi and the lawyer as Hamad Sultan al-Louizi". "They were abducted by unknown gunmen near al-Maaridh area, eastern Mosul, on Friday morning", he added.

General Staff said in a statement Turkish troops involved in the ground operation against PKK in northern Iraq has returned their bases at home after the "reaching all the initial goals".

#1: Zebari told Turkey’s CNN-Turk television that Turkish soldiers started withdrawing from northern Iraq early Friday. "All the Turkish troops have withdrawn and gone back to the Turkish side of the international border. We welcome this, we think this is the right thing for Turkey to do," he said. Reuters reported that Turkish troops have fully withdrawn from the key Zap valley of northern Iraq where they have been battling PKK separatists, citing a Turkish military source. TV channels and agencies report different news about the issue. Some says there is a limited portion and the troops who have completed their missions have returned home, while the other reports indicate a full withdrawal of Turkish soldiers. The troops have already begun returning home and many empty military vehicles were seen passing through the Turkish border town of Cukurca, heading towards northern Iraq.

A senior Turkish military source said some troops had returned to bases in Turkey after completing their mission against Kurdish PKK rebels, but that no full withdrawal had begun. A US official in Baghdad also said some troops had left, but that it was too early to call it a withdrawal.

#2: Turkish warplanes bombed positions of the separatists PKK in northern Iraq overnight, but the situation was quiet on the ground Friday morning

#3: it added. NTV also said the operation in a key base of PKK in Zap valley has ended and troops were returned home.

#1: Taliban militants blew up a telecom tower in southern Afghanistan on Friday following a warning to phone companies to shut down the towers at night or face attack. Insurgents carried out the threat, destroying a tower along the main highway in the Zhari district of Kandahar province, said Niaz Mohammad Serhadi, the top government official in Zhari.

#2: A roadside bomb blew up a Pakistani police vehicle in a northwestern town on Friday killing three people including a senior officer, police said. "The device targeted the police van, killing three people and critically wounding two," said Hamza Mehsud chief of police in Bannu district in the North West Frontier Province.

On the home front:
#1: A U.S. Marine who had been arrested over an alleged rape of a teenage girl in southern Japan has been released, Kyodo News agency reported. Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl on the southern island of Okinawa, triggering a nationwide furor over American troop-related crimes in Japan. Public broadcaster NHK said Hadnott was released after the girl's family dropped her criminal complaint against him. Police said that Hadnott admitted to investigators that he forced the girl down and kissed her, but that he denied raping her.

#2: A former SAS soldier has been served with a High Court order after making claims about the UK's involvement in the rendition of hundreds of Iraqis and Afghanistan captured by US and British special forces, it was reported Friday. According to the Guardian newspaper, Ben Griffin has been gagged with the threat of jail if he makes further disclosures about how people were allegedly seized and tortured and ended up in secret prisons in breach of the Geneva conventions and international law. It comes after Griffin, who left the British Army in protest after serving in Iraq, accused the UK government of being "deeply involved" in the process, in which US forces have transported terror suspects for interrogation, since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

Casualty Reports:

Lance Corporal Robert Reid was on patrol in an armoured vehicle with three colleagues near their base in Basra when it came under attack and has been left blind in one eye following a roadside bomb attack in southern Iraq. The 24-year-old, of Galashiels, Selkirkshire, suffered multiple injuries in the ensuing gun battle.

A recreational dodgeball game turned serious at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, when an airman suffered a heart attack. Airman 1st Class James Garrett, 19, collapsed Monday during the game. Doctors at Manas found that Garrett showed signs of sudden cardiac arrest, but he was stabilized. Garrett was flown to Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center, Germany, on Tuesday for further care.

Capt Nick Binnington, 30, suffered a horrific leg wounds from a Taliban ambush attack after it was revealed a rocket propelled grenade attack in occupied Afghanistan had left him on the emergency operating table with a shard of metal lodged in his right thigh. He was deployed in Afghanistan for six months last year as a forward air controller guiding in all allied airpower. He was injured in a Taliban ambush north east of Garesh and had to be flown back to the UK to be operated on.

Victoria Scuola-Brandt, 56, was injured during mortar attacks in Balad, Iraq. But the disabled veteran said she is constantly reliving the shelling in her mind and thinks often about her military brothers and sisters still serving in Iraq. For Scuola-Brandt the mortar attack in January 2006 remains a vivid nightmare. At the time, she was a first sergeant with the Army Reserve and was working in an area that was attacked about five times a day. "I was running for cover, and I injured my feet," she recalled. She said what affected her more was seeing a fellow first sergeant go blind. Scuola-Brandt was flown to Landstuhl, Germany, and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She eventually was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, where she received a medical discharge on Oct. 25, 2006.

Spc. Chuck Naylor, 22, was in an Afghanistan hospital, his ears still ringing from an explosion that hit his convoy of South Glens Falls, were injured when a suicide bomber destroyed a truck. It was unclear Thursday if the men were in the truck at the time. The force of the blast knocked the men to the ground, giving Naylor a concussion.

Sgt. Jeff Dorvee, 25, both of South Glens Falls, were injured when a suicide bomber destroyed a truck. It was unclear Thursday if the men were in the truck at the time. The force of the blast knocked the men to the ground. Dorvee lost hearing in his right ear. It was not known Thursday if the damage is permanent.