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, April 12, 2008

War News for Saturday, April 12, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a roadside bombing in an northwestern neighborhood of Baghdad on Saturday, April 12th. No other details were released.

Security incidents:

#1: U.S. and Iraqi forces killed at least 13 gunmen in heavy battles overnight around Baghdad's Sadr City, the U.S. military said on Saturday.

Iraqi police reported seven civilians were killed as a result of the fighting between American and government troops and al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.

Police said seven people had been killed and 17 wounded in the overnight fighting. Sadr City's two hospitals said they received at least 33 wounded.

#2: The US statement said Friday night's clashes began when a security force convoy was attacked "by multiple roadside bombs, and small-arms fire from adjacent high-rise buildings." Fighting back, security forces killed two snipers and two people firing rocket-propelled grenades from a building "where soldiers were taking RPG and machine gun fire."

At the same time, soldiers who were establishing a checkpoint came under small-arms, sniper and machine-gun fire as well as RPG attack after their vehicles were hit by a total of six roadside bombs. A fierce firefight ensued in which four militants were killed, the statement said.

Soldiers then came under small-arms fire from another nearby building and US forces in the Abrams tank fired two 122mm rounds killing another two people.

About an hour later, it said, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted three people planting roadside bombs. "The UAV fired one Hellfire missile, killing all three criminals," the statement said.

Iraqi police and hospital officials said the seven civilians died in one of the Hellfire missile strikes.

It said two vehicles were damaged but that no US or Iraqi soldiers were seriously wounded in the fighting.

#3: Residents of Sadr City said sporadic fighting continued through the night but died down after daybreak.

#4: Two civilians were killed and three others wounded in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in eastern Baghdad on Saturday, an Iraqi police source said. "A roadside IED planted by unidentified gunmen went off near Ur neighborhood, eastern Baghdad, on Saturday, killing two civilians and injuring three others," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

# An Iraqi policeman was killed and five others were injured in a roadside bomb attack in eastern Baghdad on Saturday, an Interior Ministry source said. "A roadside bomb detonated in the morning near a police commando patrol near the al-Firdus mosque in the Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Ur, killing a policeman and wounding five others aboard," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#5: In a separate incident, a motorcycle packed with explosives detonated near a U.S. patrol while passing through Doura neighborhood in southern Baghdad. It was unclear whether the U.S. patrol sustained any casualties as the troops immediately cordoned off the area, preventing the Iraqi police from approaching the scene, the source added.

#6: In eastern Baghdad, a roadside bomb went off near another U.S. patrol in the Baladiyat neighborhood, setting a U.S. Humvee on fire, the source said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: In Baquba's Had Moksar area, militants shot dead one member of the Awakening Council and wounded another two, police sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

#2: In another incident, one Awakening Council member and another two, including an Iraqi soldier, were killed when a bomb went off in Abu Khamis area, police told dpa. The explosive device was detonated as the Iraqi forces along with members of the Awakening Councils gathered to foil the explosion attempt.

#3: Also in Baquba, a police officer was killed and another civilian was wounded when militants shot them in Jlolaa area.

Balad Ruz:
#1: Gunmen attacked and killed a father and injured his wife and two children as he was driving his car in Baladruz (about 34 miles east of Baquba).

#1: Iraqi soldiers acting on tips from detained Shiite militiamen found 14 bodies Saturday that had been buried in a field south of Baghdad, officials said. It was the second discovery this week of mass graves in the area, raising to 44 the number of bodies located by Iraqi troops. Twelve bodies found Saturday had been dumped in one grave about 500 meters (yards) away from the local office of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's movement, while two others were buried together in a nearby area on the western outskirts of Mahmoudiya, a city spokesman said.

Strait of Hormuz :
#1: A US naval vessel fired a flare to warn three high speed boats that approached it while sailing in the Gulf, a Navy spokesman confirmed Friday. The USS Typhoon, a patrol ship, was travelling north in the Gulf when it encountered the unidentified boats Thursday, Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain said. 'Typhoon issued standard inquiries to incoming small boats by a bridge-to-bridge radio,' Christensen said. 'Upon receiving no response, Typhoon fired a flare.' The small boats then turned away and moved out of visible range, Christensen said. The nationality of the boats could not be identified, he added.

#1: A roadside bomb wounded one soldier and one member of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol unit when they were travelling off-duty in their car in southern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A roadside bomb killed one Iraqi soldier when it struck his patrol, west of Mosul, police said.

#2: Three bodies of Islamic party office guards were found with gunshot wounds to the body and head in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A suicide bomber killed three Indian road engineers and an Afghan in southwestern Afghanistan on Saturday in the second deadly attack on road builders in a week. The suicide attack on the road crew was in the remotesouthwestern province of Nimroz, said provincial governorGhulam Dastagir Azad. "The bomber got out of a car and then blew himself up,"Azad told Reuters. Three Indians and an Afghan were killed andthree people wounded, the Interior Ministry said.

#2: A provincial official says Afghan and foreign troops have killed 24 Taliban militants in an operation in southern Afghanistan. Provincial official Ghulab Shah Alikheil says the joint forces clashed with militants in two areas of the southern Zabul province late Friday. Alikheil says eight other militants were wounded in clashes and airstrikes. Alikheil says there were no casualties among Afghan and foreign troops.

#3: An ISAF base in Qalat, Zabul province, caught fire Friday around 3 p.m., causing material damage. The fire was limited to domestic areas, but damaged nearly half of the accommodations. The fire has not obstructed base operations and no ISAF soldiers were injured.

On the home front:
#1: A 23-year-old Milo man serving as a U.S. Army specialist was killed Wednesday when the 5-ton truck he was riding in turned over during a training exercise near Slagle, La., officials said Friday. Spc. William Charles Koelsch III of the Headquarters Company of the 1st Airborne Battalion, 509th Infantry Unit at Fort Polk, La., was a passenger in the truck, which was towing a fuel pump, when it flipped over, said Samantha Evans, a public information officer at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.

Casualty Reports:

Kyle Strunk, a member of the Kentucky Army National Guard, is recovering from injuries sustained from an insurgent’s grenade attack in Taji, Iraq, on Sunday. According to the Kentucky Army National Guard, Specialist Strunk received shrapnel wounds to the face and upper body during the attack. Strunk, 20, was evacuated to a US Army hospital in Germany and is expected to recover from his injuries. “He received a hairline fracture to the skull and has shrapnel and burn injuries to the upper body and hand. We expect him to be moved to Walter Reed soon and he’s going to have to go through some physical therapy later on. The good news is that he’s going to be all right.”

Andrew Pike as a U.S. Army specialist with the 82nd Airborne Division, he was sent to Iraq. On March 26, 2007, a sniper nearly ended his life."We were just on a routine patrol in Baiji, walking through the town, and then - despite what a lot of the news reports have said, I was shot from the front," he said. "Through the abdomen, the kidney, part of my intestines ... I was instantly paralyzed." Pike, paralyzed from the waist down, was treated in Kirkuk, then at Walter Reed Army Medical Center - where Sen. Larry Craig awarded him the Purple Heart.