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

Saturday, February 2, 2008

War News for Saturday, February 02, 2008

#1: Update--The death toll from two Baghdad market bombs allegedly carried by mentally disabled women and set off remotely has risen to nearly 100, say officials. The blasts on Friday at two animal markets in Baghdad left 99 people dead and up to 200 wounded, officials said.

#2: A roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol in western Baghdad wounded five people including three policemen, police said.

Five people (3 policemen and 2 civilians) were injured in an IED explosion that targeted a police patrol in Khadhraa neighborhood west Baghdad around 10:30 am.

#1: Two decomposed bodies with gunshot wounds were found Friday in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A MILITARY plane about to bring home East Lancashire soldiers from Iraq was almost bombed out of the sky by insurgents. A hundred troops from the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment left the war-torn country on Wednesday. But as the soldiers, including men and women from across East Lancashire, were waiting to fly from Basra airfield, Iraqi insurgents attacked the British Army contingency operating base with mortars, narrowly missing the Hercules plane flying in to transport them out. The Army confirmed that the base - where thousands of British soldiers are - was attacked on Wednesday, but said attacks on the base are "not unusual."

#1: Near Samarra, Iraqi police killed four men and captured a senior aide to an al-Qaida in Iraq leader, police said.

#2: Six gunmen were killed and two policemen were wounded in clashes on Friday in central Samarra, 100 km (62 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Four fighters affiliated to Awakening Council groups, who fight al-Qaida militants in Iraq, were killed and nine others injured in a bomb attack in Salahudin province on Saturday, a source from U.S. and Iraqi liaison office said. The attack occurred in the morning when a roadside bomb detonated near the fighters' vehicle while patrolling in Tal-Muhammad village in the al-Shirqat town, 70 km north of the capital city of Tikrit, the source from the Joint Coordination Center in the province, told Xinhua.

#1: U.S. forces killed one gunman and arrested another after they had opened fire on a U.S. patrol near Hawija, 70 km (43 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, police said. Kirkuk is 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.

Tal Afar:
#1: And near Tal Afar, Iraqi commandos killed three wanted men and arrested three others, said Brig. Gen. Ibrahim al-Jibouri, commander of Tal Afar police. Among those captured was a top al-Qaida in Iraq figure, accused of organizing militant operations in the western area of Mosul, al-Jibouri said.

#1: Afghan police backed by NATO's air power have cleared several villages from Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province besides eliminating three rebels, a statement of Afghanistan Interior Ministry said Saturday. "In the operation launched 10 days ago and supported by NATO aircraft in Deh Rawad district, three militants have been killed and several villages have been cleaned up of militants," the statement added.

#2: A seven-hour gun battle between suspected Islamic militants and police in northwest Pakistan Saturday left three extremists and two policemen dead, officials said. Rebels hurled grenades and fired rockets at police after officers surrounded a house following intelligence reports that extremists with ties to local Taliban were hiding there. North West Frontier Province police chief Sharif Virk told AFP: "Three militants and two policemen were killed in the prolonged firefight." He said fighting was over now but did not give any further details other than that two policemen were also wounded in the operation.

Casualty Reports:

Christopher Braley, 22, a Navy Corps-man, was severely injured last September in an ambush while on patrol in Iraq. A piece of shrapnel from an improvised explosive device shot through the left side of his face and lodged in his brain. After being flown to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, he endured seven brain and eye operations before transferring to the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Palo Alto at the end of December. He's been resting at a relative's home in Manteca since mid-January.

Army Spc. Michael Hayes lost his left leg and suffered burns and other injuries and has spent the last year and a half recuperating at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He was injured while on patrol in the Iraqi insurgent stronghold city of Ramadi when the roadside bomb destroyed the Humvee in which he was riding. Two other soldiers and an Iraqi translator were killed. Hayes’ progress at Brooke, which specializes in treating amputees and other severely wounded veterans, has been followed by The Courier-Journal. While there, he suffered setbacks as burns and his broken right heel took longer than expected to improve. But after months of surgeries and physical therapy, he was fitted with a prosthetic leg, then spent more months learning to walk.

Sergeant First Class Matt Tolle is recovering after being wounded during a road-side bombing in Iraq. He suffered serious injuries when his convoy hit an improvised explosive device. Family members say Tolle is scheduled to see a neurologist to determine if he suffered brain damage.