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, February 21, 2008

War News for Thursday, February 21, 2008

Photo: Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. An obscure Iraqi freedom fighter pictured during his visit in the holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, February 27. (Ali Abu Shish/Reuters)

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - North Soldier from a rocket propelled grenade attack in Mosul on Wednesday, February 20th. Three other soldier were wounded in the attack.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division – Center Soldier in an IED attack in an undisclosed location in Iraq on Wednesday, February 20th. No other details were released.

The British Ministry of Defense is reporting the death of a Marine in an explosion north of Sangin in Hemland Province, Afghanistan on Wednesday, February 20th. One other Marine was injured in the attack.

Security incidents:

#1: Smith also said one American civilian was killed and a number of U.S. troops and civilian personnel were wounded in a rocket attack in the southeastern area of Rustamiyah Tuesday night. He did not elaborate, but there is a U.S. base in the predominantly Shiite area.

#2: Three civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb went off at 10 a.m. in the intersection near al-Shaab Stadium, Zayuna, east Baghdad.

#3: Around noon Thursday, a mortar shell fell in Besateen neighbourhood, Shaab, north Baghdad injuring two civilians.

#4: Around 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon, gunmen opened fire upon a car belonging to the Crimes Department killing First Lieutenant Ahmed Mohammed and injuring Lieutenant Colonel Hazim and one policeman near the Institute of Law in Waziriyah, north Baghdad.

#5: At 2 p.m. Thursday, gunmen opened fire upon a pickup truck in al-Buhaira Square at the entrance of Sadr City, killing its driver, an employee at the Ministry of Transport.
#6: Five bodies were found in Baghdad by Iraqi Police today.1 in Palestine St, 2 in Waziriyah, 1 in Tobchi and 1 in Amil.
Diyala Prv:
#1: Police found a grave with 15 bodies in an orchard in Diyala province Thursday, Iraqi officials said. The bodies were youths, roughly ages 18 to 22, and had been buried for about a week in the al-Salam district, roughly 30 kilometers (18 miles) east of Baqouba, said officials in the Baqouba morgue and the joint coordination center for the province.

#1: Gunmen shot dead a policeman near his house in the town of Numaniya, 120 km (70 miles) south of Baghdad, on Thursday, police said.

#1: Four British soldiers were wounded near their base outside the southern city of Basra, an attack the Iraqi police described Thursday as a roadside bomb explosion that targeted a British patrol. The Wednesday night attack was followed by a clash between the troops and unidentified gunmen, Basra police Col. Kareem al-Zaidi said. Britain's Ministry of Defense said four troops were injured in the blast, which it described as an explosion outside the British base. It did not immediately provide any further detail. Al-Zaidi said the Iraqi Army was searching central Basra for the gunmen involved in the attack. Sporadic shooting could be heard and some roads were closed.

Iraqi army forces fought for several hours with illegal militant groups in different areas in the city of Basra, some 550 kilometres south of Baghdad, security sources and media reports said Thursday. The news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) said the clashes took place in the Hussein and Jameiyat districts during the late hours of Wednesday and lasted till the dawn of Thursday. Helicopters were seen supporting the Iraqi soldiers during the clashes, while militants used rocket-propelled grenades. There were a number of dead and wounded on boths sides, but no firm casualty figures yet available, the reports said.

#2: Sources added that attacks on the British base were also reported near Basra airport.

The British base at Basra International Airport, northwest of the city, came under an attack with Katyusha rockets, Multi-National Forces spokesman said. The attack did not cause casualties among the forces," he said, warning that such attacks could lead to suspend works at the airport.
#3: Two Iraqis were killed and another four injured when militants attacked a four-wheel-drive vehicle, used by foreign companies in Basra, some 550 kilometres south of the Iraqi capital, witnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

#1: Gunmen killed a policewoman wearing civilian clothes in a market in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Five policemen were wounded when a car bomb exploded near their convoy in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad on Thursday, police said.
#3: A senior police officer on Thursday survived an attempted assassination in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul when a car bomb exploded near his motorcade, a police source said. "The explosion took place this afternoon while Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed al-Wagaa's motorcade was heading to office in northern Mosul, wounding five of his escorts," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq
Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Commander of Fallujah Brigade, the Seventh Division, Brigadier General Ahmed al-Juburi was killed when a roadside bomb targeted his motorcade. His driver was also killed and one security personnel seriously injured.
#2: One civilian killed and another injured in car bomb explosion at an open air market, 37 km to the south of Fallujah.

The Turkish military shelled several Kurdish rebel positions inside northern Iraq on Thursday, an Iraqi security official said. "They started heavy artillery shelling at about 11 a.m. (8 a.m. British time). We still don't know if there are any casualties -- the area was deserted except for some PKK members," said Jabbar Yawar, a spokesman for the Peshmerga security forces in Iraq's largely autonomous region of Kurdistan. He said the shells hit the remote, mountainous area of Hakurk.
#2: Turkish troops inside northern Iraq fought gunbattles with Iraqi Kurdish security forces on Thursday, a senior Iraqi Kurdish official said. Fouad Hussein, head of the office of the president of Iraq's Kurdistan region, said Turkish troops tried to move tanks from a base that has long been inside northern Iraq, but Kurdish Peshmerga forces tried to stop them. A gunbattle erupted, he said, adding it was unclear if there were casualties.
A spokesman for Iraq's Kurdish Peshmerga security forces denied there had been any gunbattles on Thursday with Turkish troops just inside northern Iraq.

#1: Afghan troops have killed 30 Taliban insurgents, including a commander, in Afghanistan's southern province Helmand, said a statement of the Afghan Defense Ministry, released here Thursday. Mullah Abdul Bari and 29 of his men were killed on Wednesday ina five-hour operation supported by air force and conducted in MusaQala and Kajaki districts of the troubled Helmand province, the ministry said.

#2: It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a Marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan today, 20 February 2008, during Operation Mar Taqeeb (Serpent Pursuit). One other marine was also injured in the incident but has been described as “walking wounded”.

#3: One policeman was killed and four other policemen injured as a roadside blast targeting a police vanwent off in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province Thursday, the police said. The blast occurred in Helmand's provincial capital Lashkargah at around 4:45 p.m. local time (1215 GMT) and all the killed and injured were policemen in plain uniforms, Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, provincial police chief told Xinhua via phone.
Helicopters carrying three senior U.S. senators made emergency landings Thursday in the mountains of Afghanistan because of a snowstorm. Sens. John Kerry, Joseph Biden and Chuck Hagel were aboard the aircraft. No one was injured, according a statement from Kerry's office. The senators and their delegation returned to Bagram Air Base in a motor convoy, and have left for Turkey. After several hours, the senators were evacuated by American troops and returned overland to Bagram Air Base

On the home front:

#1: Two Air Force F-15C Eagles were reported missing Feb. 20 at approximately 2 p.m. CST in the Gulf of Mexico. The two aircraft were assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing. At the time of the accident, they were on a training sortie. Active search and rescue efforts are under way.

The single-seat F-15C Eagles crashed Wednesday into the Gulf of Mexico, said Col. Todd Harmer, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, 58th Fighter Squadron. The pilots had ejected and were rescued, but one died later. The condition of the surviving pilot and the names of both pilots were not released.

#2: A military jury in Hawaii has convicted a soldier of aggravated assault in the killing of an Iraqi man last year. The nine-member jury acquitted Army Specialist Christopher Shore of Winder, Georgia, of third-degree murder in the June 23rd killing but guilty of the lesser offense.

Spc. Christopher Shore has insisted his platoon leader ordered him to finish off a wounded Iraqi last summer near Kirkuk but that he intentionally fired his weapon to miss. A military jury on Wednesday apparently accepted his account of the unarmed Iraqi's death, finding the 26-year-old soldier not guilty of third-degree murder. Jurors instead convicted him of aggravated assault. Shore was sentenced to 120 days in prison and a two-grade reduction in rank, said his attorney, Mike Waddington. He will serve his sentence in Hawaii and will be allowed to remain in military service.