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

Friday, March 28, 2008

War News for Friday, March 28, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in an improvised explosive device attack in an eastern neighborhood of Baghdad on Thursday, March 27th. No other details were released.

The Herald Tribune is reporting the death of a a U.S. government employee who in an indirect fire attack in the green zone in Baghdad on Thursday, March 27th. No other details were released.

The Mail&Guardian is reporting the death of a South African citizen (contractor) in Iraq on Wednesday, March 26th. No other details were released.

Security incidents:

#1: In Baghdad there have been clashes in at least 13 mainly Shi'ite neighborhoods, especially Sadr City, the vast slum named for the cleric's slain father where his followers maintain their power base. "There have been engagements going on in and around Sadr City. We've engaged the enemy with artillery, we've engaged the enemy with aircraft, we've engaged the enemy with direct fire," said Major Mark Cheadle, spokesman for U.S. forces in Baghdad.

#2: In one strike before dawn, a U.S. helicopter fired a hellfire missile at gunmen firing from the roof of a building, killing four of them, Cheadle said. A Reuters photographer there filmed windows blown out of cars and walls pocked with shrapnel.

#3: U.S. forces said they killed 27 fighters in operations in the capital on Thursday.

#4: U.S. forces in armored vehicles battled Mahdi Army fighters Thursday in Sadr City, the vast Shiite stronghold in eastern Baghdad, as an offensive to quell party-backed militias entered its third day. Iraqi army and police units appeared to be largely holding to the outskirts of the area as American troops took the lead in the fighting. Four U.S. Stryker armored vehicles were seen in Sadr City by a Washington Post correspondent, one of them engaging Mahdi Army militiamen with heavy fire. The din of American weapons, along with the Mahdi Army's AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, was heard through much of the day. U.S. helicopters and drones buzzed overhead.

#5: In Baghdad, a U.S. helicopter also fired a Hellfire missile during fighting in the Baghdad's militia stronghold of Sadr City early Friday, killing four gunmen, military spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Stover said. Ground forces called for the airstrike after coming under small-arms fire while clearing a main supply route at 4:10 a.m., he added. Iraqi police and hospital officials in Sadr City said five civilians were killed and four others wounded in the attack.

#6: Sporadic fighting was reported in predominantly Shiite areas in eastern Baghdad despite a curfew banning unauthorized movement in the capital was imposed from 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Sunday.

#7: Thirty-nine people were killed and 389 others wounded in the clashes that erupted on Tuesday in Sadr City, eastern Baghdad, a medic said on Friday.

#8: The fortified Green Zone in Iraq's capital has again come under attack by rockets or mortars. A thick cloud of smoke was seen over the zone Friday about 2:30pm, shortly after two rounds hit. It was the day's first attack on the area.

4 mortar rounds hit the Green Zone at around 5 pm today. No casualties were reported.

2 mortar rounds fell on the Green Zone at 7.45 pm. No casualties were reported

#9: The daughter of Iraq's Sunni vice president says two guards at her father's offices were killed during shelling of the Green Zone. Lubna al-Hashemi says four others were injured in the shelling that left thick clouds of smoke rising over the heavily fortified area of central Baghdad.

#10: The office of Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi was hit in a mortar or rocket strike on Baghdad's Green Zone government and diplomatic compound on Friday, and a security guard was killed, an official in his office said. Hashemi was not in the office and nor were any of his staff as it was the Muslim Friday holiday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

#11: A U.S. air strike in Baghdad's Kadhimiya neighbourhood killed three people and wounded six, police said.

The US military made an air strike at an armed group during a surveillance trip in the sky of al-Kadhimiyah area at 3 pm today, killing 3 gunmen, injuring 8, Iraqi Police said. No comment was available from the US military at the time of publication.

#12: Police said four people were killed and three wounded in a second Sadr City air strike later in the day.

#13: Gunmen capture a National Police patrol in al-Amin neighbourhood, east Baghdad at 10 am today. The US military and Iraqi security forces have intervened to find out the fate of the 3 policemen in the patrol.

#14: Gunmen capture 2 National Police patrols, set the policemen free and make off with the vehicles and weapons in al-Darwish Junction, al-Alam neighbourhood, southwest Baghdad.

#15: Clashes broke out between gunmen and the Iraqi Army in Bayaa, west Baghdad at around one this afternoon. No casualties were reported.

#16: 3 mortar rounds hit al-Muthanna military base in central Baghdad at 3 pm. No casualties were reported.

#17: Rocket attacks in the Green Zone, the diplomatic and government compound, killed two and wounded four, police said. A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said no Americans were seriously injured in the attacks.

#18: 3 mortar rounds hit al-Muthanna military base in central Baghdad at 3 pm. No casualties were reported.

#19: The US military carried out air strikes on section 8 in Sadr City from 5 pm to 8 pm. 12 people were killed and 60 injured, Iraqi police said. No comment was available from the US military at the time of publication.

#20: 2 mortar rounds fell on a commercial centre near the rail track in Qadisiyah neighbourhood west of central Baghdad injuring one woman.

#21: 2 mortar rounds hit the traffic tunnel under the suspension bridge (one of the entrances to the Green Zone) in Karrada at 5.15 pm injuring 3 civilians.

#22: Clashes broke out between Mahdi Army members and the Iraqi Army in Washash, central Baghdad this evening. No casualties were reported.

#23: Seven bodies were found in Baghdad on Friday, police said.

#24: U.S. forces killed 13 insurgents during engagements across Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

Diyala Prv:
Khan Bani Saad:
#1: Five U.S. soldiers were wounded in an attack that targeted a military convoy of the Multi-National Force, a media advisor for the MNF said on Friday."A U.S. convoy was the target of an attack with light arms and bombs in the area of Bani Saad, (30 km) north of Baghdad, on Thursday morning. Five U.S. soldiers were wounded," Abdul-Latif Rayan told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI). A source from the Bani Saad police, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had told VOI that an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near a U.S. army vehicle, prompting the U.S. soldiers to cordon off the scene and impose a curfew.

#1: At least 12 militia fighters were killed and seven others wounded in fighting in Mahmoudiya, according to an Iraqi army official.

Seven people were killed and 15 others wounded in clashes between Mehdi Army fighters and Iraqi security forces in Mahmudiya, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#2: The local office of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, meanwhile, claimed 15 Iraqi soldiers had been captured, including two officers, in the city, about 20 miles south of the capital.

#1: An Army Colonel, Jabar Rashid, was killed in clashes with Mehdi Army fighters in Numaniya, 120 km (72 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: The U.S. military said in a statement on Friday that members of an Iraqi Special Weapons and Tactics unit (SWAT) and U.S. special forces had killed 14 militants and wounded 20 in fierce battles in Kut on Wednesday. Nine SWAT members were killed.

Two Iraqi security forces also were killed and three wounded in Kut, police said.

Clashes between Mehdi Army fighters and Iraqi security forces killed three police officers and wounded two militants in Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Rockets or mortars also were lobbed at a U.S. facility in the southern city of Hillah, although no casualties were reported, the military said.

The U.S. consulate in Babel came under an attack with 14 Katyusha rockets on Friday but no information yet about losses or casualties, a security source from Babel police said."All rockets fell within the consulate environs but there is no information yet about the results of the missile attack," the source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#1: Six policeman were killed and nine others wounded in clashes with Mehdi Army fighters in Hamza, 35 km (22 miles) south of Hilla, police said. Sixty-two gunmen were captured in these clashes.

#1: In the city of Diwaniyah, some 200 kilometres south of the capital, two police officers were injured and a militant was killed in fighting between the Iraqi forces and militants in Akrad district, VOI said.

#2: Also in Diwaniyah, militants targeted an Iraqi patrol in Somar area on Thursday, leaving one civilian dead and another two, seriously injured.

#3: Gunmen killed the mayor of the Ghmash neighbourhood in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, sparking "very severe" clashes between Iraqi security forces and Mehdi Army fighters, police said. An office of Moqtada al-Sadr's followers was burned in retaliation.

#4: Seven mortar rounds fell into the headquaters of Iraqi army 8th division, 3 km west Diwaniya, leaving no casualties among servicemen", an Iraqi army source, who requested anonmity, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq

#1: Three gunmen were killed and seven others captured when they attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint in the Husseiniya district north of Kerbala, 110 km (68 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Police said four people were killed and 14 wounded in clashes in Nasiriyah.

Fierce fighting in the Mahdi Army stronghold of Nasiriyah also killed at least four people, including two policemen and two civilians, and wounded 14, an officer said, adding that the clashes had spread to other parts of the city.

Three policemen and two civilians were killed and 25 people wounded in clashes between Mehdi Army fighters and Iraqi security forces in Nassiriya, 375 km (235 miles) southwest of Baghdad, a hospital source said.

Fifteen people including three policemen were killed and 50 people wounded in clashes between Mehdi Army fighters and Iraqi security forces in Nassiriya, 375 km (235 miles) southwest of Baghdad, a hospital source said.

#2: A Reuters witness said Mehdi Army gunmen had seized control of Nassiriya, capital of the southerly Dhi Qar province. Mehdi Army fighters have held territory or fought with authorities in Kut, Hilla, Amara, Kerbala, Diwaniya and other towns throughout the Shi'ite south over the past several days.

In Nassiriya, a Reuters reporter said he could see groups of fighters with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The sound of sporadic gunfire echoed through the streets. Police appeared to be staying in their stations.

intense clashes between Iraqi forces and militants broke out in the city of Nasiriyah, some 350 kilometres south of Baghdad, resulting in the deaths of four police officers and 12 injuries, the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency said.

#1: Mortars killed two policemen and wounded 23 people including 13 policemen in Karma, a town 80 km (50 miles) north of Basra, police said.

#1: Militants have also taken control of the town of Shatra, 40 km to the north (Basra), he said, citing witnesses.

Al Qama:
#1: Five people were killed and two others wounded in clashes between the Bani Malek clan and gunmen north of Basra on Friday, an official security source said. "Clashes broke out between the Bani Malek clan and security forces on one hand and gunmen on the other in al-Qarna, (100 km) north of Basra, after a policeman belonging to the clan died of wounds he sustained in fighting with gunmen two days ago," the source, who declined to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI). "Clashes were still going on," he said.

#1: A British military official says coalition jets have dropped bombs on Basra for the first time since clashes erupted this week between Shiite militias and security forces. The official says Iraq security forces asked for airstrikes on at least two locations. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. The official could not provide additional information on the nature of the targets or how many people were killed or injured in the bombings.

#2: The Iraqi ground commander in Basra, Major-General Ali Zaidan, told Reuters his forces had killed 120 "enemy" fighters and wounded around 450 since the campaign began.

Earlier on Friday, another medic told VOI hospitals in the unrest-stricken city of Basra received more than 60 bodies and 300 others wounded until Thursday evening in clashes flaring up in southern Iraq.

#3: But Reuters television footage from Basra showed masked gunmen from Sadr's Mehdi Army still in control of the streets, openly carrying rocket launchers and machine guns.

American-trained Iraqi security forces failed for a third straight day to oust Shiite militias from the southern city of Basra on Thursday

#4: Oil exports from Basra of more than 1.5 million barrels a day provide 80 percent of Iraq's government revenue. An explosion at a pipeline damaged exports on Thursday, but they were back to normal on Friday.

#5: Basra was reported to be quiet on Friday morning, as were the other two flashpoint southern towns of Kut and Hilla, where there have been heavy clashes between Mehdi Army fighters and U.S. and Iraqi forces this week.

#1: Unidentified gunmen killed a woman on Friday inside her house in southeastern Mosul, the official spokesman for the Ninewa operations command said. "Unknown gunmen stormed the house in Somer neighborhood in southeastern Mosul to kill her husband, but he fled," Brigadier Kahled Abdul Sattar Saadon told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#1: The U.S.-led Coalition forces have killed several militants while conducting an operation to capture a Taliban leader and disrupt Taliban facilitation networks in southern Afghan province of Helmand, said a statement released here on Friday. Coalition forces were fired by several insurgents during their search of compounds in the Kajaki district on Wednesday targeting a Taliban insurgent linked to weapons facilitation operations, the statement said. "Coalition forces firing in self-defense during multiple engagements killed several insurgents and discovered a wounded civilian not involved in hostilities after the engagement," it said. Four other individuals who were suspected with links to the targeted Taliban insurgent and Taliban weapons facilitation operations were arrested, it further added.

Casualty Reports:

Army Sgt. Javon Jordan, was critically wounded in Iraq. According to Crowell-Grate, Jordan, 32, was wounded Sunday by a roadside bomb that exploded next to the vehicle in which he was riding. Three of his fellow soldiers were killed. Jordan was flown to a military hospital in Germany with a severe head injury, and is expected to be flown to Bethesda Naval Medical Center today if he is stable enough, Crowell-Grate said. She's planning to fly to Washington, D.C., today to join her daughter Michelle, Jordan's wife, at his bedside. "If he's stable enough, they're going to fly him back," she said. "They're not expecting him to make it."

Specialist Matthew McCool was hurt when an improvised explosive device went off near his Humvee. An overnight attack in Iraq, has left a Kern County soldier seriously wounded. Matthew received a concussion, shrapnel in the head and was air lifted to a green zone hospital inside Baghdad.