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

Sunday, March 23, 2008

draft--War News for Sunday, March 23, 2008

CJTF-82 is reporting the deaths of two coalition soldiers from an improvised explosive device in the Zharmi District of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Friday, March 21st. No other details were released.

Security incidents:

#1: Dark smoke rose from the U.S.-protected Green Zone early Sunday after it was targeted by a series of rockets or mortars, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. Some 10 blasts were heard starting shortly before 6 a.m in the sprawling area in central Baghdad, which houses the U.S. and British embassies, the Iraqi government headquarters and thousands of American troops. "Our assessment at this time is that the attack caused no deaths or major casualties," said Mirembe Nantongo, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

But one round fell short and exploded in a major traffic circle on the east side of the river, injuring two people nearby, police said.

The first barrage of about a dozen blasts aimed at the Green Zone started just before 6am local time. Unusually, a second barrage of about eight more followed about four hours later.

#2: In other violence Sunday, a blast killed eight, including two women and two children, in southeastern Baghdad, police said. The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.

#3: In a separate incident, gunmen in three cars opened fire on pedestrians in a religiously mixed southern Baghdad district, killing at least seven and wounding 16, police said.

In another brutal attack several armed men travelling in three cars opened fire in the mixed Zafaraniyah neighbourhood of south Baghdad, killing at least six people and wounding 16, security and medical officials said. The gunmen struck as residents were out shopping in the local market.

#4: In the third attack, a Katyusha rocket struck a residental building in the largely Shiite Al-Kamaliyah neighbourhood of east Baghdad, killing at least five people and wounding eight, security officials said.A medic at Ibn Nafis hospital confirmed receiving six bodies of people killed in the attack.

#5: A roadside bomb blew up near a police patrol, wounding three policemen in Zayouna district, in eastern Baghdad, police said.

#6: A Katyusha rocket wounded three people in Bab al-Sheikh district in central Baghdad, police said.

#7: A roadside bomb wounded two people in Karrada district, in central Baghdad, police said.

#8: Around 3 p.m. a suicide bomber driving a car bomb targeted civilians near a gas station in Shoala neighborhood, killing 5 civilians and injuring 7.

Diyala Prv:
#1: The US military said it killed 12 insurgents in a raid on a house east of Baquba after local media reported an operation in the town of Balad Ruz, 70km northeast of Baghdad. "Six of the terrorists killed had shaved their bodies, which is consistent with final preparation for suicide operations," spokesman Major Winfield Danielson said.

#2: In one incident, US helicopters attacked four residential houses in the Dhalka area of the city, killing 15 people of a single family, Iraqi officials told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. Two further people were wounded in the attack.

#3: Gunmen killed citizen Ali Hassan in front of his house in central Baquba, Hassan was returning home yesterday after he was displaced.

#4: Gunmen killed Brigadier General Akram Awad Radhi and his driver as he was heading back to Baquba from Abu Saida area (about 12 miles east of Baquba).

#5: Gunmen attacked policemen in central Baquba killing a police lieutenant and injuring two other policemen.

Balad Ruz:
#1: Gunmen killed Colonel Akram Awad al-Omairi, commander of a rapid reaction unit of Balad Ruz, outside his home in the town of Abu Saida in Diyala province, police said.

#1: A mortar barrage also targeted a U.S. base in the Shiite city of Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, Iraqi police said. The American military did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the attack.

#1: A suicide bomber late Saturday also drove a truck laden with explosives into the home of the mayor in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad. Three security guards were killed and four others injured, police said.

A suicide car bomb hit the house of tribal leader Hussain al-Shatab, killing five people, including his brother, and wounding 11 others on Saturday east of Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Shatab survived.

Tuz Khormato:
#1: Four Iraqi army servicemen, one holding the rank of lieutenant, were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near their patrol north of Touz Khormato district, southwest of Kirkuk, on Sunday, police said."An IED targeted an Iraqi army 4th Division patrol in the village of al-Maftoul, (25 km) north of Touz Khormato district, killing three soldiers and an officer in the rank of lieutenant," a security source, who did not want to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#1: A suicide car bomber killed at least 13 Iraqi soldiers and wounded dozens more people in Iraq's north on Sunday. Iraqi security forces opened fire on the bomber as he drove toward the military base in the northwestern city of Mosul but were unable to foil the attack because the truck's windshield had been made bullet-proof. The attacker blasted through an armored vehicle to reach the courtyard of the military headquarters, according to an Iraqi army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information. Police said at least 13 Iraqi soldiers were killed and 42 people wounded—30 soldiers and 12 civilians—in the attack.

Sulaymanyah Prv:
#1: Iranian forces continued the attacks Sunday on villages in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaymanyah, where Iranian Kurdish rebels are believed to be operating, Kurdish sources and media reports said.

#1: A Combined Joint Task Force-82 unmanned-aerial vehicle made a hard landing in Sarobi District, Kabul Province, March 22.The UAV landed in a remote, unpopulated area. There are no reports of injuries to civilians or damage to property.

#2: A roadside bomb killed two soldiers from the U.S.-led coalition in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, a U.S. military statement said. "Coalition forces, along with Afghan National Security Forces, were conducting a security patrol in the Zharmi District, when their vehicle struck a mine placed on a frequently traveled road," said the statement, issued late on Saturday.

#3: Afghan and NATO forces killed more than 40 insurgents in a joint air and ground battle in southern Afghanistan, a security official said Sunday. Troops seized dozens of weapons _ including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns _ after Saturday's battle in Dihrawud, a district in Uruzgan province, the Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement. It said many militants were killed, including a commander, but provided no figures. An official at the ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details about the battle, put the number of dead at more than 40 .

#4: Taliban militants fighting Afghan government on Sunday shot dead a former Jihadi commander and pro-government figure in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, provincial police chief Mohammad Hussain Andiwal said. "Anti-government militia gunned down a former commander Hajji Abdul Kabir in the outskirt of Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province, this morning," Andiwal told Xinhua.

Casualty Reports:

Marc Crossley, 33, of Gardnerville was a Marine on patrol in the Middle East with his reconnaissance unit when their Hummer was blasted. Crossley, seriously injured when his stomach was riddled by shrapnel in the explosion, received an honorable discharge, but he was classified as only 10 percent disabled. He now has stomach lymphoma, a cancer doctors believe is related to his injury, and he is 100 percent disabled.

Sergeant Todd Henry, 40, injured in Iraq on New Year's Eve 2006 had surgery last week to remove a piece of shrapnel that had been above his left eye for almost 15 months. He had the copper piece removed from just under the skin in an outpatient procedure at the Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Clinic, Columbus. The sergeant with the 303rd Psychological Operations Company saw an orange light and felt blood trickle from above his eye. He was awarded the Purple Heart.