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 28, 2008

War News for Thursday, February 28, 2008

We condolence on the Arbaeen anniversary, marking end of a 40-day mourning period after the martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Hussein ibn Ali (AS), the third Imam of prophet Mohammad's (SAWA) infallible household.-----May peace and fulfillment accompany you one this most holy day----E

Security incidents:

#1: A civilian was wounded on Thursday in a roadside bomb blast in central Bagdad, the spokesman for Baghdad’s security plan Fardh al-Qanoon said. “An improvised explosive device went off behind the higher education ministry’s building in al-Karada region in central Baghdad, wounding a passing civilian,” General Qassem Atta told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#2: The chairman of the observation and complains department in the integrity committee Mudhaffar Turki survived from an assassination attempt when gunmen using machineguns opened fire targeting his car in Zayuna neighborhood in east Baghdad on Wednesday night. Turky and another man who was with him in the car were injured in the attack and were taken to one of the hospitals of Baghdad.

#3: Two civilians were injured when an IED exploded in Sadoun neighborhood downtown Baghdad around 11:00 a.m.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A health facility guard was injured on Thursday in an al-Qaeda armed attack in central Baaquba, an official security source said. "An armed group belonging to al-Qaeda organization opened fire on a guard working for a health facility near al-Muallemat Institute in downtown Baaquba city, wounding him seriously," the source, who preferred to be unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq.

#1: U.S. soldiers killed an Iraqi civilian who raised suspicion and failed to heed warnings to stop as he approached their foot patrol north of Baghdad, the military said Thursday. The man was wearing a bulky jacket and had his hands in his pockets Wednesday as he walked toward the troops in the area around Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, according to a statement. U.S. troops issued warnings for the man to stop, then killed him when he failed to heed them, the military said, adding no weapon was found when the man was searched. No U.S. troops were wounded in the incident, which was under investigation.

#1: In a separate incident, the military said a young Iraqi man that may have been mentally disabled was shot and wounded after he ran toward a patrol Thursday in Tahrir, another Diyala town. Maj. Daniel J. Meyers, a spokesman for the U.S. military, said the man was running toward the military patrol "possibly to avoid being kidnapped." The patrol warned the man to stop but when the man did not, he was shot, Meyers said. The military received small arms fire as it performed first aid on the man, who was later evacuated by helicopter, Meyers said. His condition was unknown.

#1: Gunmen in two cars kidnapped a senior official of Iraq's electricity ministry after he left work in Amara, 365 km (230 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said. The official was identified as Mutar Thamer, director of electricity distribution for Iraq's southern provinces.

#1: Some nine million Shiite pilgrims visited the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala for Arbaeen, one of the holiest days in the Shiite calendar that culminates on Thursday, a local police chief said. "The number of people who visited Karbala has touched nine million," Major General Raed Shakir Jawdat told AFP.

#2: Security forces captured three women for distributing poisonous food in Iraq's holy Shiite city of Karbala, the police chief said on Thursday. "Police forces arrested three women while they were distributing food, which was found poisonous after lab testing," Major General Raed Shakir Jawdat told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq, (VOI). Jawdat did not elaborate on the poisonous substance in the food, but said it was "very poisonous. "The arrested women have been subject to interrogation to disclose the body they are working for, according to the police chief.

#1: Iraq halted exports of Kirkuk crude through its northern pipeline to Turkey on Wednesday but Iraqi officials said they expected pumping to resume by Friday morning. An engineer with the Northern Oil Company in Kirkuk blamed a technical fault in a pumping unit for the halt, while a spokesman for the Oil Ministry in Baghdad, Asim Jihad, said it was due to routine maintenance of the pipeline. The engineer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Iraq had been pumping 350,000 barrels of crude a day before Wednesday.

#1: A father and his son, both policemen, were killed on Thursday by unknown gunmen in eastern Mosul, an official source said. “Unidentified gunmen killed two policemen this morning while heading to work in al-Tahrir region in eastern Mosul,” the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#2: Three bodies, shot in the head and chest, were found in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, in the past 24 hours, police said.

#1: A senior member of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) said its forces killed 18 Turkish soldiers and wounded two on Thursday in a mountainous area in northern Iraq, media reports said. "We (the PKK) managed to kill three Turkish soldiers and wound another two when our forces set an ambush in the Dojka mountains near Zab," Ahmed Damis, a senior PKK official, told the Iraqi news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). He added that the PKK killed another 15 Turkish troops during clashes with Kurdish forces in the eastern Imadiya area. Turkish forces started to withdraw after the attack, but then hit the PKK forces with airstrikes, Damis said.

#2: Kurdish rebels surrounded about 200 Turkish soldiers in a mountain valley in northern Iraq on Thursday, a spokesman for the rebels said. Rebel spokesman Ahmad Danas said the soldiers were in a valley between two mountains about 10 kilometers from the Turkey-Iraq border when the rebels surrounded them. Heavy clashes have broken out between the two sides, he added. A Turkish helicopter in the area was hit by rebel fire, Danas said. Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.

#1: Fifteen American service members sustained "minor injuries" when three buses carrying them on a Kuwait highway collided, the U.S. military said Thursday. No Kuwaiti vehicles were involved in the Tuesday accident northwest of the capital, the military said in a brief statement without providing any further details. It said three soldiers were evacuated to a military facility at Camp Arifjan, the main U.S. military base in Kuwait, and one was taken to another medical facility at an air base.

#1: Insurgents ambushed the drug eradication force Wednesday in Marja district of Helmand province killing one police officer and wounding two, said Gen. Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, the provincial police chief. Police attacked the militants afterward, killing 25 Taliban fighters, including a senior regional militant commander, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

#2: Separately, four militants died and another was wounded Thursday when the roadside bomb they were planting on a main road in Helmand exploded prematurely, Andiwal said. Militants regularly target Afghan and foreign troops with roadside bombs, though many civilians are killed by the blasts.

#3: At least eight people were killed in a missile strike on a religious seminary and a house in Pakistan's troubled South Waziristan tribal region on Thursday. Local TV channels however, put the death toll at 12. There was no official confirmation of the attack. Most of those who died were believed to be Afghan students. "Three rockets hit the house at 2 a.m. when the students were asleep", a resident said. It was not immediately clear whether the missile was fired by coalition forces in Afghanistan or by Pakistani forces.

On the home front:

An Illinois National Guardsman is headed to federal prison after stealing more than $30,000 worth of military equipment. Federal Judge Michael McCuskey has sentenced 39-year-old Patrick S. Fitzsimmons to a month in prison and five months of home confinement. The Potomac man pleaded guilty in October to one count of stealing military equipment. Authorities say stole a sophisticated weapons sight, night-vision goggles and other gear. Fitzsimmons says he sold the goggles at a pawn shop for $200. He then tried to pawn the scope, leading the shop owner to call the FBI.

A soldier is in Christchurch Hospital after shooting himself in the thigh during a training exercise at the army's West Melton firing range, southwest of the city, this morning. He was reported to have a broken femur and was expected to undergo surgery. Lieutenant Colonel Phil McKee, commander of 3rd Land Force Group, based at the Burnham Military Camp, said the soldier, who has not been named, was treated at the scene by army medics and transferred to hospital by a Westpac rescue helicopter. A St John spokesman told NZPA paramedics who were called to the firing range at 10.12am reported the soldier had serious injuries. Lt Col McKee said the army's thoughts were with the soldier and his family. An army investigation into the incident is under way.

The Iraq war veteran and Virginia Military Institute graduated charged with last year's shooting death of a Henrico County woman last year, is due in court this morning. Wyatt Ward Hollar, 28, was indicted this month by a Richmond multijurisdictional grand jury for murder in the death of Danielle Dawn Wilson, 25, on Feb. 11, 2007. Wilson suffered a single gunshot wound through the heart in a death that was originally believed to be a suicide, according to police.

Kingsman Terry Thompson, 20, died from a drug-induced heart attack after taking the drug while home on leave from Iraq to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

Casualty Reports:

Jarrod Bonnick, 32, works as a civilian project manager for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He spent 45-days in Iraq inspecting and working on water treatment facilities before he was wounded. "There was a convoy of four they were heading out to four treatment water sites and they were doing tests on the water to make sure it was safe for drinking," said Chris Bonnick, who helped to organize the benefit. "They accomplished everything they set out to do and the accident actually occurred on their way back to base," Bonnick finished. Bonnick's suffered from multiple fractures in the bones in his left leg. His femoral artery was severed but his life was saved.

Sergeant Grant Combs was injured while on patrol in Iraq when the Humvee he was riding in ran over an IED. Grant's father, Raymond Combs, says Grant suffered two broken heels and a broken leg. He is recovering tonight at Walter Reed Medical Center. Sergeant Combs had surgery Tuesday and will undergo another surgery Thursday. The driver of the Humvee was also injured and a lieutenant riding in the vehicle died in the explosion.