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, February 26, 2008

War News for Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle is reporting the death Army Spc. Kevin Mow, 22, at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland on Monday, February 25th. He was originally injured from an IED attack in Baghdad on August 2nd 2007. Three soldiers were killed and eleven were wounded when the explosion hit their Stryker vehicle. Here's the MNF-Iraq release.

The Danish MoD is reporting the death of a soldier who appears to have been working with NATO in Iraq. Johnny Mikkelsen appears to have died from an accident while in Northern Iraq on January 22nd. We'll have an update for this when more details are found.

Security incidents:

#1: Around 2 p.m. Gunmen stopped a car of the ministry of health and robbed 6 millions Iraqi Dinars in Al Waziriyah, Iraqi police said.

#2: Around 5 p.m. a speeding car through a grenade targeting an Iraqi army checkpoint in Al Sinak area, injuring two soldiers.

#3: Iraqi police found one body throughout Baghdad, in Jisr Diyala area.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A group of armed men set up a fake checkpoint north of Iraq's restive town of Baquba and kidnapped 21 civilians travelling in two minibuses on Tuesday, police said. Police Lieutenant Colonel Najim al-Sumaidaie from Baquba told AFP the checkpoint was set up in an area called Al-Adaim, 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Baquba in the Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad. "At about 10:00 am (0700 GMT) several armed men stopped a minibus carrying 11 men and three women at the checkpoint. They released the women but abducted the men," Sumaidaie said. He said minutes later another minibus was stopped by the kidnappers and 10 men travelling in it were also abducted.

#2: In Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, eight army troops were killed when militants attacked their patrol, the Iraqi news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) said.

#1: A roadside bomb targeted a truck carrying bricks heading towards Baghdad in Hibhib area (about 15 Kilometers north of Baquba), killing the driver and his assistant.

#1: A body was found with gunshot wounds in central Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Unidentified gunmen fired two missiles at the Iranian consulate building in Basra but no casualties or damage were reported, a police source said. "Unidentified gunmen in a vehicle fired two RPG-7 shells at the building of the Iranian consulate in southern in southern Basra," the source, who preferred not be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

Tuz Khurmato:
#1: Fifteen gunmen broke into a house in the village of Tuz Khormato, 130 miles north of Baghdad, killing an Iraqi soldier and wounding his brother.

#2: A roadside bomb detonated near a civilian truck, carrying construction materials, on the main road near the town of SulaimanBek near the town of Tuz-Khurmato, killing the driver and another man, the source said..

#1: In Hawija, 150 miles north of Baghdad, two members of the local awakening council—Sunni fighters who have turned against al-Qaida—were killed after gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint.

#1: In another incident, three members of the Awakening Council were killed in Kirkuk, some 250 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. 'Militants attacked Tuesday a checkpoint of the Awakening Councils in Abasseiya area in Kirkuk, killing at least three members,' Fatah Abdul-ah, an Iraqi official told dpa.

#1: A suicide bomber killed 14 people in an attack on a bus in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday, security sources said. Another seven people were wounded but few other details were immediately available. Another police source said the initial death toll was five. Iraqi police in Mosul, 350 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, said the bus was carrying passengers to Syria to Iraq's west. They said a wounded passenger had told them that the bomber boarded the bus and told the driver to change direction before detonating a belt packed with explosives.

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a bus traveling west of Mosul in northern Iraq's Nineveh province on Tuesday, killing 40 people and wounding five others, a provincial police source said.

A suicide wearing a vest riding a bus was heading to Syria from Mosul city detonated his vest bomb as an Iraqi military checkpoint asked passengers to go down for search, killing 14 and injuring 15.

#2: A parked car bomb targeted a police vehicle in Al Maarith area east Mosul, killing one police officer and injuring another.

#1: The Turkish military has said 153 rebels have been killed in the operation. The Kurdish rebels disputed the claim and warned that Turkey had entered a conflict that it cannot win. A statement posted on the military's Web site Monday also said two more soldiers were killed in fighting, but gave no details. The deaths would bring the total Turkish military fatalities since the start of the incursion Thursday to 17.

#2: Turkish troops were engaged in fierce clashes with Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as they closed in on one of the main separatist camps, security sources here said Tuesday. Members of the Kurdish security force in the autonomous north of Iraq told AFP sustained fighting continued unabated since late Sunday as troops, backed by artillery and air cover, fought to seize a main rebel camp in the Zap area. The camp, situated in a deep valley just a six-kilometer (four-mile) walk from the Turkish border, is one of the main passages used by Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels to infiltrate Turkish territory for attacks.

#3: Clashes also continued since late Monday in the mountainous Hakurk area to the east, close to Iraq's border with Iran, where the Turkish army air-dropped troops and helicopter gunships pounded rebel positions, the sources said.

#4: Another PKK official said fighters launched an attack on Turkish troops overnight in four positions in Alzab. 'Turkish troops suffered 21 casualties, including five soldiers, whose bodies are kept by PKK fighters, PKK spokesman, Ahmed Denees, told the Voices of Iraq news agency.
Fighters has foiled an attempt by Turkish commandos to parachute into the Jimji area and forced them to retreat, Denees said. Clashes continue in Alzab and Bazya but came to a halt in Irsh with the retreat of Turkish troops.

#1: A roadside bomb hit a vehicle carrying five policemen and a child in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing all six, officials said. The blast happened in the eastern Khost province close to the border with Pakistan, said police chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub. He blamed the attack on Taliban militants.

On the Home Front:

#1: Three people are dead following an apparent homicide/suicide at Tinker Air Force base, Okla., Feb. 25. Tinker AFB security forces and Oklahoma County law enforcement officials responded to a domestic disturbance in the military family housing area at approximately 2:30 p.m. after being advised of a potential hostage situation. At approximately 4:30 p.m., a joint response force entered the residence and discovered the remains of three individuals -- one adult and two children.

#2: An Army solider on leave from Iraq walked into a High Desert convenience story Sunday night with a gunshot wound to his thigh and an account of a confrontation with a robber. But Pfc. Matthew John Myers' story about a robber shooting him at point-blank range near an Apple Valley golf course didn't match the evidence, sheriff's officials said. After interviews, detectives said they suspected something different: The 20-year-old had asked a friend to shoot him so he wouldn't have to return to Iraq.

#3: Four soldiers were injured, one critically, Monday in a training accident involving an artillery ammunition supply vehicle at Fort Carson, the post said. The accident happened about 1:30 p.m. when an M992 armored vehicle rolled over in a training area a couple of miles southwest of the post, Fort Carson spokeswoman Dee McNutt said.

#4: The Government has been ordered to release the minutes of Cabinet meetings where military action against Iraq was discussed. Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said the papers should be released under the Freedom of Information Act because of the "gravity and controversial nature" of the discussions. "He believes that disclosure of this information would allow the public to more fully understand this particular decision of the Cabinet," the commissioner's office said in a statement.

Casualty Reports:

#1: A Jersey Shore soldier hurt in a mortar and rocket attack last week in Baghdad is recovering from her injuries and wants to remain in Iraq, according to her mother. Army Staff Sgt. Vanessa Buck, 27, of Jersey Shore, was injured when a blast shattered walls and windows in the compound where she was working, her mother, Lynn Stockton, also of Jersey Shore, said. “There was heavy mortar fire and rockets in areas of Baghdad and my son got a phone call at about 9:30 Monday morning about it.” “They were working in Saddam’s (former) palace, which they made into an office building and mortars came in and shattered the windows,” Stockton said. “She was struck by glass and sustained injuries from the glass in her face, neck, chest and arm.”