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

Monday, March 31, 2008

War News for Monday, March 31, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a roadside bombing in a northern neighborhood of Baghdad on Sunday, March 30th. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Force – West Marine in a roadside bombing in al Anbar Province on Saturday, March 29th. No other details were released.

The British MoD is reporting the deaths of two Royal Marines in an explosion near Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Sunday, March 30th. Here's NATO's official statement.

The father of a soldier listed as missing-captured in Iraq since 2004 said Sunday that the military had informed him that his son's remains were found in Iraq. Keith Maupin said at a news conference in suburban Cincinnati that an Army general told him DNA testing identified the remains of his son, Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin. He was commonly known as Matt.

Security incidents:

#1: The fortified Green Zone in Iraq's capital came under mortar or rocket attack again Monday. The U.S. Embassy confirmed the attacks and said no serious injuries were reported. The U.S. military said it had no reports of major damage.

#2: In another blow to Maliki, his security adviser, Saleem Qassim Taee, known as Abu Laith Kadhimi, was killed in the fighting in Basra. The Dawa party member had lived in exile under Saddam's regime for 20 years.

#3: US air strikes and military assaults have killed 41 "criminals" in Baghdad, including 25 who died when an alleged mortar team was bombed, the American military announced on Monday. The killings occurred on Sunday in eastern and northeastern Baghdad where US and Iraqi forces have been battling the Mahdi Army militia

#4: A US military statement said American soldiers were hunting for the launch site of a rocket or mortar attack in eastern Baghdad on Sunday when their Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, injuring one soldier.

#5: In northeast Baghdad, another eight "criminals" were killed when they attacked US soldiers, a separate statement said.

#6: The Iraqi Olympic Committee said Monday that its assistant secretary-general died of wounds sustained from gunmen attack last week. "Dr. Ra'ad Jaber died of wounds in a Baghdad hospital on Sunday after being attacked by gunmen in the Sa'doun Street in central Baghdad on Wednesday," Hussein al-Amidi, the acting secretary-general of the committee, told Xinhua. Ra'ad Salman, an Iraqi basketball referee was killed instantly during the attack while Fikrat Toma, coach of national basketball team, escaped the attack with a gunshot wound in his thigh, he said. The attack came as fierce clashes between Shiite Mahdi Army militiamen and the U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces spiraled in several southern Iraqi cities in addition to Baghdad.

#7: One U.S. soldier was killed after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb on Sunday north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

#8: The well-known civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security operation was released Monday after he was kidnapped in the capital. Tahseen al-Sheikhly was freed in eastern Baghdad, said a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information.

#9: A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed at when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised-explosive device approximately 4 p.m. in northeast Baghdad March 31.

#10: Around 4 pm, mortar shell hit Karrada neighborhood .Two people were injured in that incident.

#11: Around 4:15 pm, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Mansour neighborhood (west Baghdad) .Two policemen were injured with their vehicle burned.

#12: Police found 3 dead bodies in Baghdad neighborhoods today: 2 in east Baghdad( Risafa bank) ; 1 in Jisr Diyala and 1 in Shaab. While 1 was found in Bayaa in west Baghdad in Karkh bank.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Elsewhere, unknown gunmen in a car attacked a checkpoint manned by U.S.-backed Sunni fighters near Buhriz, about 35 miles north of Baghdad, police said. Four of the fighters were killed.

Balad Ruz:
#1: Around 7 am, a roadside bomb targeted a lorry at Balad Ruz (40 km east Baquba) killing its driver.

#1: Around 10:45 am, a roadside bomb targeted the vice governor’s convoy at Moqdadiyah (40 km east Baquba).Two of his guards were killed in that incident who were Iraqi policemen.

#1: Six handcuffed and blindfolded bodies were found with gunshot wounds in a deserted area near Latifiya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Iraqi police found a dead body in a river that was believed to be a security volunteer kidnapped a few days ago in Mahaweel, 75 km (45 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: In Basra, Mahdi Army militants fought to keep their strongholds but were overrun by an Iraqi Security Force in the eastern neighborhood of Tanuma. U.S. and British aircraft conducted four air strikes in the city, the U.S. military said. In downtown Basra in the area of al Timimiyah, Iraqi forces surrounded the neighborhood as coalition aircraft struck Sunday morning, residents said.

Sami al-Askari also said most of Basra, where the government attempted to crack down on militia fighters, was "under control" a day after Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took his Mahdi Army off the streets.

#2: Residents buried their dead and swept rubble from the streets after quiet returned to the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Monday. Life slowly returned to normal in Basra where Sadr's masked Mehdi Army militia fighters were no longer to be seen openly brandishing weapons in the street as they had for days. "We have control of the towns around Basra and also inside the city. There are no clashes anywhere in Basra. Now we are dismantling roadside bombs," said Major-General Mohammed Jawan Huweidi, commander of the Iraqi Army's 14th division. Shops were beginning to reopen, some for the first time in a week. Authorities said schools would reopen on Tuesday. Residents hosed down the hulks of burnt-out cars. Others drove with coffins in their trunks carrying the unburied dead.

#1: Gunmen killed six Iraqi policemen on Sunday in an ambush on their patrol northeast of Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

#1: Two gunmen were killed on Sunday and another was wounded by U.S. helicopter fire in Mosul city, while police forces there released a kidnapped citizen and wounded two armed men, official spokesperson of Ninawa Police Operations Command said. "One gunman was killed and another was wounded when a U.S. helicopter opened fire on one of the streets in al-Wahda neighborhood, southeast of Mosul," Brigadier Khalid Abdul-Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#2: Unknown gunmen on Sunday kidnapped a brother of former minister of Human Rights in Mosul, northern Iraq, A Ninewa police source said. "Unknown gunmen abducted a brother of former minister of Human Rights Zuhir al-Chalabi in 17 July district, western Mosul", A Ninewa police source, who requested anonmity, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

#3: Unknown gunmen opened fire on a civilian in al-Nour neighborhood in eastern Mosul, killing him on the spot and fled to an unknown place," the source, who preferred to remain anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#4: Meanwhile, the same source said that "police patrols found two bodies in eastern Mosul; one in al-Nour neighborhood, and the other was found in al-Senaa neighborhood."

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: One U.S. soldier was killed after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb on Sunday in Anbar province, western Iraq, the U.S. military said.

#1: One civilian was wounded when an improvised explosive device went off near an Iraqi army patrol in central Falluja city on Monday, police said. "A roadside IED planted in al-Dhbbat neighborhood, central Falluja, went off on Monday near an Iraqi army patrol, wounding one civilian nearby," a security source, who asked not to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#2: Around 8:30 am, a bicycle bomb which was parked near Al-Khulafa mosque targeted one of the Falluja governing council members’ car downtown the city. One person was killed in that incident who had bought the car from the governing member yesterday. Also four people were injured in that incident.

#1: A blast struck a NATO patrol in southern Afghanistan, killing two British soldiers, officials said Monday. The British troops were airlifted to a military hospital after they were caught in the explosion during a routine patrol Sunday, NATO said in a statement. Both died at the hospital of their injuries.

#2: In neighboring Kandahar province, a roadside bomb hit a car carrying Afghan private security guards protecting a road construction crew in Zhari district on Monday, killing three guards, said district chief Niyaz Mohammad Sarhadi.

#3: The Spanish Defence ministry confirmed yesterday that a Spanish patrol from the Qala i Naw Provincial Reconstruction Team came under fire at around 1am local time yesterday lunchtime near Moqur. The Spanish troops were taking part in a joint reconnaissance mission with Afghan police when they were attacked by a gang of unidentified individuals, who soon ran off when their fire was returned. There were no casualties and given that the troop carrier was also undamaged, the patrol completed its mission before returning to base, the Defence ministry spokesman went on to explain.

#4: Three Dutch soldiers from NATO-led forces in Afghanistan were hospitalized on Sunday after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device near the town of Tarin Kowt, the Defence Ministry said. One soldier lost both his legs in the explosion and his condition was critical, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Dutch soldiers serving with Nato forces in Afghanistan were involved in two separate roadside bomb attacks on Sunday, leaving five wounded, the defence ministry said. In the first incident three people were wounded driving over a bomb while patrolling near Tarin Kowt. One man, who lost both legs in the blast, is said to be in a critical condition. The second attack came seven hours later, leaving two soldiers injured. The defence ministry said they are in a stable condition.
#5: Around 150 Norwegian soldiers and 50 Latvian soldiers were in the base when it came under attack around 4am Norwegian time. None of the rockets hit the base at Meymaneh, and no injuries were reported, Lt Colonel Jon Inge Øglænd told All personnel were evacuated into the base's bomb shelter for two hours, said Petter Lindqvist of the defense ministry. It wasn't clear who was behind the attack or what type of rockets were used.

#6: Four New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan were fortunate to escape without injury after a roadside device exploded next to their patrol vehicle today. A four-vehicle New Zealand Defence Force patrol from the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) was travelling to a village near the border of the Baghlan province with a doctor to set up a mobile medical clinic. An improvised explosive device (IED) went off beside one of the vehicles, damaging the front and smashing the windscreen, but no shrapnel reached the four occupants.

#7: The Danish soldier was killed Monday and two other Danes were injured in heavy battles with Taliban fighters alongside British troops near the town of Gereshk, the Danish military said. Helicopter gunships were called in to the fight, which also involved tanks, heavy artillery and mortars, it said.

Casualty Reports:

Commando Ben McBean lost an arm and leg when he was blown up by a Taliban landmine in Afghanistan a month ago. The 21-year-old, recovering at a military hospital in Birmingham. Speaking of the incident from Selly Oak military hospital in Birmingham, Ben said: ? I was on patrol in a group of eight Marines checking the Taliban?s position. We were sprinting from one checkpoint to another. "As I was running I suddenly heard this huge bang. I was blown ten feet into the air and landed to see my severed foot lying several feet in front of me. Then I looked down to see my arm had snapped completely in half.

Staff Sergeant Jerry Majetich was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), critically injuring him and causing 3rd degree burns over 100% of his face, neck and scalp along with numerous other serious injuries. Jerry was deployed to Iraq in March of 2005 with the 304th Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Company, stationed south of Baghdad in support of the 184th (AA), 3rd ID. On October 18th, 2005, while traveling as the 27th vehicle in a 69-vehicle convoy as part of Operation Clean sweep, he was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). His vehicle had a bounty on it. The rear half of the vehicle disintegrated immediately, killing a member of the security detachment, who was a friend and room mate of Jerry's, and the Battalion Information Officer, also a good friend. The driver's door blew off and he was ejected from the vehicle, receiving minor burns to his right arm and leg. The gunner was thrown about 50 feet into a nearby field from the explosion, shattering his right leg and suffering 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his arm, leg, and lower back. The propane tank in the IED set the vehicle on fire, and Jerry was trapped inside, unable to escape because the door next to him had been welded closed. His injuries include: -35% total body surface 3rd degree burns.-100% face, neck and scalp 3rd degree burns, causing the loss of all hair, both ears (his hearing is fortunately ok), most of his nose, and his vision was gone for two months, with the inability to close either eye for almost three months.-His intestines were ruptured and stomach bruised, causing the loss of 1/3 of his small intestines. Because of the multiple surgeries to his stomach, his muscles were unable to heal and he now has what is referred to as "swiss cheese" by his doctor: a total of six hernias (five in his stomach and one on his right side), which required another surgery. If not taken care of, their size would have increased, interfering with other organs.-Total amputation of his right thumb and pinky, and remaining three fingers down to the second knuckle.-Finger tip amputations to all of the fingers on his left hand.-Loss of use to right arm and shoulder beyond ten pounds.-Unable to straighten either arm due to bone growth caused body in reaction to the burns.-Unable to stay in sun light for more than a few minutes, and his body does not react well to either extreme cold or heat.-Two gunshot wounds in his upper, rear right leg with a loss of muscle and tendons.-Frequent loss of memory, both short and long term, due to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).-Frequent bouts with anxiety in and out of crowds, depression and fatigue.