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

Saturday, March 1, 2008

War News for Saturday, March 01, 2008

#1: Violent civilian deaths in Iraq rose by 36 percent in February from the previous month after a series of large-scale bombings blamed on al Qaeda, Iraqi government figures showed on Saturday. A total of 633 civilians died violently in February, compared with 466 in January, according to figures released by Iraq's interior, defense and health ministries, the first increase after six consecutive months of falling casualty tolls.

#2: Two roadside bombs detonated separately around midday in the Amriya neighborhood, killing a civilian and wounding six local Awakening Council group fighters," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Diyala Prv:
#1: One person was killed and 10 wounded, including women and children, when gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shi'ite pilgrims returning from the Arbain religious rite in Diyala province north of Baghdad near the border with Salahuddin, police said.

#2: Gunmen suspected of belonging to al-Qaeda network kidnapped 11 people on Saturday in a fake checkpoint in al-Azhim area, Diala province, a security source said. "The gunmen stopped a vehicle boarding 11 passengers and led them all to an unknown place," the source, who declined to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).The source did not give further details.

#1: A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded three others in Mahmudiya, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Unknown gunmen on Saturday morning attacked a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, killing a pilgrim and wounding ten, including women and children, a police source said. "Gunmen attacked a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims coming from observing Ziyarat al-Arbaeen, a Shiite occasion, near Kirkuk, this morning, killing a child and wounding ten," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#1: A car bomb went off at the al-Maarid intersection, eastern Mosul, targeting a U.S. patrol but causing no fatalities or injuries," Brig. Khaled Abdul-Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#2: Another car bomb attack that targeted a U.S. convoy in eastern Mosul left only one civilian wounded and caused minor damage to nearby residential buildings," Abdul-Sattar added.

#3: He said another U.S. patrol was the target of an IED attack in al-Muthanna area, eastern Mosul, he said, adding the blast left no casualties.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Policemen found corpses of two civilians north of Falluja on Saturday, an official police source said. "The bodies, of two civilian residents of al-Anbar province, were found in Zhiraa Dijla area, (20 km) north of Falluja," the source, who declined to have his name revealed, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#1: A roadside bomb struck a tractor in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing three people, including a woman and a child, and wounding seven others, an official said. The blast hit a family as they were traveling between villages in the Ali Sher district of Khost province, said Gul Mohamaddin Mohammadi, a provincial health official. A woman and 7-year-old child were among those killed, while seven others, including a woman and three children, were wounded in the explosion, Mohammadi said.

Casualty Reports:

Pfc. Wes Hixon, 23, was driving a Stryker armored vehicle on patrol with the 25th Infantry Division near Baghdad last month when it was struck by a roadside bomb. The blast killed four soldiers and wounded six others, all inside the vehicle, according to Jona Vanata of the Cody-based Families on the Frontline support group. The explosion ripped the 19-ton vehicle in half and propelled it 30 feet in the air, Vanata said in an e-mail. Hixon remains in intensive care after a series of surgeries, including a 15-hour operation to help repair his shattered spine. He also suffered several broken ribs, a torn diaphragm and facial injuries but no brain injury, said Brenda Marchese, a family friend. Wes Hixon has recovered from pneumonia but is unable to move his legs, although his spinal cord is intact. Wilkerson said no long-term prognosis has been made about Hixon's paralysis.

Army 1st Lt. Robert Burke of Greece returned home Friday, one month after suffering five gunshot wounds while fighting in Iraq. Three bullets struck his upper torso, one hit his leg and another grazed his right cheek. He had a collapsed lung, a bruised spleen and other injuries. He was awarded the Purple Heart. Burke, 25, is with the First Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum. The Greece Arcadia graduate deployed to northern Iraq in September and is the platoon leader. Early in the morning of Feb. 4, Burke was taking part in a raid on a house believed to be occupied by insurgents. As the soldiers were detaining one individual, others inside the house began firing blindly at American forces, Burke said. Six Americans were injured in the attack, including Burke, but no one died, he said.