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, April 11, 2008

War News for Friday, April 11, 2008

Security incidents:

#1: The U.S. military says one of its drones has killed six gunmen in Baghdad's Sadr City district. The military says an unmanned aerial vehicle observed a group carrying rocket-propelled grenades and mortars Thursday evening. The drone fired a Hellfire missile, killing six of the suspected militants. There was no immediate comment from the Iraqi police on Friday morning.

#2: On Friday, Sadr City residents said there was a lull in violence in the neighbourhood but sniper attacks had wounded three people. "Sadr City was quiet last night. This morning there were some gun shots, while three people were wounded by snipers. We did not hear any explosions," said one resident, Abdul Hussein Hadi.

#3: 1 Katyusha rocket hit the perimeter of the Palestine Meridian Hotel, on the Abu Nawas side, central Baghdad at 3.15 pm Friday injuring 2 civilians.

And a rocket apparently aimed at the U.S.-protected Green Zone also fell short, crashing into a second-floor room and blowing a hole in the wall of the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad.

A missile ripped a hole in the second floor of the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad, killing three civilians outside the hotel, police said. The hotel, sited across the Tigris River from the Green Zone diplomatic and government compound, houses some international media but is largely vacant. The Associated Press, which has TV staff in the hotel, said none of its people were hurt.

A missile ripped a hole through the second floor of Baghdad's Palestine Hotel on Friday, Reuters witnesses said, and police said three civilians were killed and seven injured.

#4: 1 Katyusha rocket fell on the Green Zone at around 3.15 pm Friday. No casualties reported.

#5: Meanwhile, sporadic clashes between Iraqi security forces and militia fighters broke out for a sixth day in the Mahdi Army strongholds of Baghdad's Sadr City and the southern port city of Basra.

#6: Elsewhere in eastern Baghdad, a roadside bomb destroyed an armored vehicle in eastern Baghdad, killing an Iraqi.

#7: A roadside bomb exploded targeting a police patrol in Shaab, northeast Baghdad at around 2 pm Friday, killing 1 policeman and injuring 3.

#8: A roadside bomb exploded targeting a joint US/Iraqi patrol in Baladiyat, north east Baghdad at 3 pm today killing 3 civilians. Clashes broke out with the gunmen after the IED went off. No casualties were reported.

#9:A mortar round fell on a bread bakery in Talbiyah, Square 83 killing 2 civilians and injuring 5.

#10: 3 unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad today by Iraqi Police. 1 in Baladiyat; 1 in Shaab and 1 in Hurriyah.

#11: More than 289 persons have been killed and 1448 others wounded since the beginning of armed clashes in Sadr City on March 25, an official source in the health ministry said on Friday.“The death toll of the clashes and bombarding operations in Sadr City which started on March 25 rose to 289 dead and 1448 wounded,” the source, who asked for anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

Diyala Prv:
#1: A roadside bomb exploded targeting an Iraqi Army patrol in Abu Khamis, 10 km to the south of Baquba at 12.15 this afternoon injuring 2 army servicemen.

#2: A roadside bomb exploded as a civilian car was passing in al-Muradiyah, 20 km to the east of Baquba at 1 pm Friday. In the car was a family of 7. 1 child was killed; the mother, father and 4 other siblings were severely injured.

#1: Gunmen shot dead a top official from radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's movement in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf after Friday prayers, police and an aide to the cleric told AFP. Riyad al-Nuri, director of the Sadr movement's office in Najaf, was shot dead near his home as he was returning from the weekly prayers, Najaf police chief Major General Abdul Karim Mustafa said.

#1: Sadrist sources told dpa that joint US-Iraqi forces attacked the office of al-Sadr in Nomaneiya area in the city of Kut, some 170 kilometres south of the Iraqi capital. Forces burnt the office after killing Sadrists inside it, they said.

#1: A US air strike on Friday killed six people in a restive district of Iraq's southern city of Basra, a British military spokesman said. The air strike was carried out in Basra's northern district of Al- Hayaniyah at around 2:30 am (2330 GMT Thursday), Major Tom Holloway told Agence France-Presse. "The air strike was launched after positively identifying a mortar team that was engaging the Iraqi troops on the ground," Holloway said, adding US aircraft carried out the strike. He said the military's assessment revealed that six people were killed and one wounded.

At least one member of the Mahdi Army militia was killed on Friday and three civilians wounded when US helicopters attacked some houses in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, witnesses said.

#2: Meanwhile, sporadic clashes between Iraqi security forces and militia fighters broke out for a sixth day in the Mahdi Army strongholds of the southern port city of Basra.

#1: A car bomb driven by a suicide bomber targeted a Sahwa checkpoint, 20 km to the north of Baiji on the main route of Baghdad/Mosul at 5.30 pm Friday. 1 Sahwa member was killed and 8 were wounded.

#2: Gunmen killed an off-duty army officer and wounded three of his children inside their car when they were travelling near Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A police patrol found the body of a policeman in al-Orouba neighbourhood Friday morning. The policeman was 30 years old; he was shot to death

#1: Gunmen killed a man inside his car on Thursday in northern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Gunmen killed a man and wounded another one in a drive-by shooting west of Mosul, police said.

#3: Policemen found two unidentified corpses in the city of Mosul; the first was found in al-Zahraa neighborhood in eastern Mosul, while the second was found in Palestine neighborhood in southwestern Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#4: Gunmen launched a mortar attack on an Iraqi army outpost in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, wounding 11 people including four women, the U.S. military said.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: A car bomb driven by a suicide bomber targeted al-Hamudhiyah checkpoint, east Ramadi which is manned by Sahwa (CLC) members. The explosion took place at 5.30 pm Friday and caused the death of 4 Sahwa members and injuring 3 civilians.

#1: An Afghan doctor and a driver from a German aid group are missing in northern Afghanistan and police are investigating whether they have been kidnapped, a police commander said today. KinderBerg International, which helps disabled Afghan children, said two of its workers had disappeared while travelling between the capital Kabul and the northern province of Kunduz. The pair’s vehicle was found abandoned in Chaharikar, the capital of Parawan province, about 60 kilometres north of Kabul, police said.

Abdul Rab, a 44-year-old Afghan medical doctor, and his driver, Abdul Hafiz, left Kabul for Kunduz in the far north on Tuesday, but failed to arrive at their destination, the organization said in a statement.

#2: A Spanish soldier was wounded in the leg yesterday afternoon after being acidentally shot by a colleague. The incident occurred at around 2.30pm at the Qala i Naw Provincial Reconstruction Team's base in northern Afghanistan. The wounded soldier was later airlifted by helicopter to the Spanish field hospital in nearby Herat. He was shot through a partition wall as both men were in their bedrooms when the second soldier's rifle discharged involuntarily.

#3: Over the last three months, Spanish patrols have come under fire from local rebel gangs on three occasions though there have been no casualties.

#4: update A suicide car bomber in Afghanistan attacked a Canadian military convoy yesterday, killing eight civilians and wounding 22 people, among them three Canadian soldiers, authorities said. Kandahar police Chief Sayed Aqa Saqib initially said none of the soldiers in the NATO convoy was hurt as the bomber set off his explosives just after it had passed. But the Interior Ministry later said three Canadian soldiers were wounded.

Casualty Reports:

Wellesley's Sean Bannon came home this week after being injured in Iraq. Bannon's legs were shattered two months ago in Iraq.

Spc. Michael Williams, 22, plays a waiting game at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where he faces surgery to repair the knee he wrecked when he jumped from a truck to take cover during a mission in Iraq. Sent to Iraq in December, he was injured shortly after arrival. "I was in the back of an open truck when we got into some bad stuff, and I didn't want to be a target, so I jumped off," he says. "I just landed wrong. As soon as I hit the ground, I knew I was in trouble." From Baghdad, he was taken to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, and then to Walter Reed, where he has been since early January. Because his leg muscles had atrophied, Williams has spent the past three months in physical therapy. He gets around on his own legs now, but will face weeks in a wheelchair, then graduate to crutches and physical therapy after his April 17 operation.

Spc. Anthony Hardy, 27, a lifelong Fairbanksan, had been injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Anthony is suffering from multiple broken bones in his chest and shoulders, he awoke and was able to say a few words to his father. He was eventually stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga.,. as part of the 7th Cavalry, 3rd Infantry division before shipping out to Iraq. He and two other soldiers were on patrol in an M113 Armored Personal Carrier — nicknamed “the pillbox” because of its rectangular shape — when the bomb went off in Sadr City.

Rifleman Michael Wilkinson, 18, said: "I was on top cover on a vehicle patrol in Lashkagar when we came to an ANP checkpoint. "He pointed his weapon at us but we gave him a warning and he put it down."At the next checkpoint the ANP was being a lot more aggressive. "He actually took aim at me and I initially opened up on him, shot him and that's when rounds started flying. "A bullet passed through the lightly armoured Land Rover, fragmented and caught the young soldier in both legs."I'm okay," said Rfmn Wilkinson, who is now back on Wearside. "I'll make a full recovery."

Private Simon Peacock, 22, nearly died after he was showered with shards from the rocket propelled grenade as he defended his comrades in war-torn Helmand Province in Afghanistan last year. The shrapnel lodged in his knee, hand, as well as his heart and lungs where it remains after doctors said it was too risky to remove it. The attack happened last year (2007) when the soldier, from South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, was defending other soldiers trying to take a Taleban-held compound in Kajaki.