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

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

War News for Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NATO is reporting the deaths of two ISAF soldiers from an IED attack in Sharan District, Paktika Province, Afghanistan on Tuesday, February 26th. One additional soldier was wounded in the attack. The AP is reporting the nationalities of the soldiers as Polish and the identities as Cpl. Szymon Slowik and Pvt. Hubert Kowalewski.

Security incidents:

#1: A roadside bomb struck a minibus carrying travelers to a Shiite religious commemoration Wednesday morning, killing one traveler and wounding two others, police said. Wednesday's attack occurred in eastern Baghdad when the bomb went off next to the minibus, according to a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

#2: A civilian was injured on Wednesday in a roadside bomb explosion in southeastern Baghdad, the commander of the Baghdad's operations said. "An improvised explosive device, planted by unknown gunmen near Sahet Misloun in southeastern Baghdad, went off, wounding one civilian," General Qassem Atta told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#3: A civilian was killed and two others were wounded when an IED exploded targeting a Caprice carrying fuel cans in al Ghadeer neighborhood in east Baghdad. The car exploded and was completely charred.

#4: Iraqi Press Syndicate chief Shihab al-Tamimi died of wounds sustained from an attack carried out by unknown gunmen in Baghdad four days ago, a union source said on Wednesday. On Saturday, unidentified gunmen opened fire on Tamimi in al-Waziriya neighborhood, central Baghdad, while he was leaving the syndicate’s building to attend cultural activity nearby, seriously wounding him.

IRAQ journalists' union chief Shihab al-Timimi died of a heart attack on Wednesday just days after being wounded in a drive-by shooting, a union official said. The 75-year-old had been rushed to a Baghdad hospital with a bullet wound to his chest after Saturday's attack on his car. Yesterday he suffered a heart attack which he could not survive, union secretary general Moaed al-Lami said.

#5: Police found two unidentified bodies in Baghdad today. One body was found in Doura neighborhood while the other body was found in Mashtal neighborhood.

#1: Babil Police found an unidentified body in al Tihmaziyah village southwest of Hilla city on Wednesday morning, police of Hilla city said. Police said that the deceased body carried signs of torture and bullet wounds

#1: Gunmen using machine guns opened fire, killing one police officer, first lieutenant Raid Khudair, in the al Mutaiha area south of Basra city on Wednesday morning, police said.

#1: An off-duty Iraqi soldier was killed and two wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Gunmen wounded four off-duty policemen in a drive-by shooting in Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Lake Thar Thar:
#1: Gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by Iraqi police and members of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood police unit, killing two and wounding three, near Lake Thar Thar, 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said.

#1: "Domiz police chief, Colonel Anwar Hussein, survived an attempt on his life when a booby-trapped car targeted his convoy in al-Askari neighborhood in northern Kirkuk," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq, (VOI)."The explosion did not cause any damage or casualties," the source explained.

#2: Unknown gunmen kidnapped two workers and a trucker in the main road leading to Rashad district, near Sami al-Assi village, 30 km south-west of Kirkuk, an eyewitness told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI) over the phone. He added, "The gunmen abducted the three individuals when their vehicle carrying construction materials passed by the road, taking them to an unknown place."

#1: Two gunmen were killed during clashes with Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Nineveh security spokesman Brigadier-General Khalid Abdul-Sattar said. He said one of the gunmen was an Iraqi and the other was a Saudi national.

#2: Two people were killed and one wounded when a car bomb exploded near a police patrol in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, said Brigadier-General Khalid Abdul-Sattar, the military spokesman for Nineveh province.

#3: Gunmen using machineguns opened fire killed a student in Mosul University. The incident took place in Hamdaniyah town east of Mosul city on Tuesday night.

#1: Turkish troops have killed 77 Kurdish rebels in night-long clashes in northern Iraq, the military said Wednesday. Five soldiers were also killed.Meanwhile, more than 40 military trucks ferried troops toward the Iraqi border Wednesday, a day after heavy snow slowed down Turkey's ground incursion against Kurdish rebels. F-16 warplanes and helicopters were seen flying over the border town of Cukurca toward Iraq.The death toll for the rebels reached to 230, the military said. The death toll for soldiers stood at 24. The military said three pro-government village guards were also killed during the operation that began last week.

#2: The government of Iraq's Kurdish Autonomous Region denied Thursday that wounded rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were receiving treatment in the region's hospitals. "News reported on the website of the Turkish General Staff that wounded PKK rebels are receiving treatment in hospitals in the Kurdish region are untrue," said a statement by a government spokesman. Local hospitals have not received any wounded rebels as the government of the Kurdish region is still committed to its position and steps previously taken against the PKK, the statement said.

#1: A roadside bomb killed two Polish soldiers patrolling in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday, while NATO announced the seizure of $400 million in opium in the south. The explosion hit the troops in the Sharan district of Paktika province on Tuesday, said NATO's International Security Assistance Force. The Polish troops were returning from a humanitarian aid meeting in a village when their Humvee drove over a roadside mine, Maj. Dariusz Kacperczyk, spokesman for the Polish army operational command, said in Warsaw. The two soldiers killed were identified as Cpl. Szymon Slowik and Pvt. Hubert Kowalewski. One soldier was also wounded

#2: Afghanistan's interior minister survived a rocket and small arms ambush by suspected Taliban insurgents to the east of the capital Kabul on Wednesday, a ministry official said. Interior Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbel was traveling through the Tangi Abrishim area of Laghman province when the attackers opened fire on his convoy with a single rocket, then followed up with a volley of small arms fire, the official said. The minister's guards returned fire, but there was no news of any casualties in the exchange and it was not clear if the attackers knew he was in the convoy, said the official, who declined to be named.

#3: Australia says its soldiers have fought off a number of Taliban attacks over the past few days in southern Afghanistan. The defence department says extremists used rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire to attack the troops while they were working on a construction site, building a patrol base for the Afghan National Army. The department says the immediate and aggressive response to the attacks forced the militants to retreat and abandon their weapons. No Australian troops have been injured.

#4: Norway's defence ministry said on Wednesday it would allow some of its soldiers stationed in Afghanistan to go to the south of the country where battles against the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been the toughest and Canada has been pleading for more allied help. But a group of 50 soldiers, to be sent to the war-torn state in October to help train the Afghan army, will be able to accompany Afghan troops into southern Afghanistan.

Casualty Reports:

Pfc. Jake Williams was spending his 20th birthday – Aug. 13, 2007 – on combat patrol in the Iraqi desert when a bomb blast tore through his Humvee. “I remember looking down at my (right) hand, just hanging there,” said Williams, of Sun City in Riverside County. Half a year later, minus his amputated hand, he's out of combat but still among his military buddies.

Army Spc. Saul Martinez, 23, of Bloomington, who lost both of his legs following a roadside bomb blast in Iraq last May. Shrapnel riddled Williams' body and mangled his hand. Worse, a jagged piece of metal pierced his neck. His friends had to cut a hole in his throat to let him breathe.