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 19, 2008

War News for Saturday, April 19, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - North soldier in a roadside bombing in Salah ad-Din Province on Friday, April 18th. No other details were released.

Security incidents:

#1: Twelve people died in overnight clashes in Baghdad's Sadr City. In Sadr City's general hospital, officials said 71 people were admitted for treatment of injuries received in the fighting. The hospital also received 12 bodies, said an official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to release the information. The fighting came amid reports that Iraqi troops backed up by U.S. forces were trying to recapture a position in the district abandoned a day ago by a company of government soldiers.

#2: Security forces in the area also have come under repeated attack by militants trying to prevent the construction of a concrete wall through the district. The wall _ a concrete barrier of varying height up to about 12 feet _ is being built along a main street dividing the southern portion of Sadr City from the northern part, where Mahdi Army fighters are concentrated.

#3: The U.S. military said one of its attack helicopters located and hit a mortar crew in Sadr City at 3:30 a.m. Saturday, killing two gunmen and destroying the weapon.

#4: One Iraqi soldier was killed and four others wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in Yarmouk district, in western Baghdad, police said.

#1: Clashes were also reported near Nasiriyah, a city about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad. Authorities imposed a curfew on the town of Suq al-Shiyoukh after a firefight in which one militant was killed and six policemen injured.

#1: One body was found with gunshot wounds in Mussayab, 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Heavy fighting broke out in the Iraqi city of Basra on Saturday, where police said government forces entered a neighborhood known as a stronghold of fighters loyal to the anti-U.S. cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr. A Reuters reporter in the city said he had heard the sound of heavy gunfire and explosions at dawn. He described it as the heaviest fighting for weeks in the southern city, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki launched a crackdown on Sadr's followers late last month. Police said Iraqi forces had entered the centre of Hayaniya, a neighborhood known as a stronghold of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia. No information about casualties was immediately available.

#2: British artillery and U.S. warplanes were supporting the Iraqi army operation, which met minimal resistance, military spokesman Maj. Tom Holloway said. He said that as a show of force British gunners fired a barrage of shells into an empty area near Hayaniyah and U.S. warplanes bombed it.

#1: A roadside bomb struck a police patrol, killing one policeman and wounding another in the southwest of Kirkuk, police said.

#2: A parked car bomb killed one person and wounded three others in southern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A roadside bomb killed two people and wounded 12 others in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A roadside bomb hit a civilian vehicle Saturday in southern Afghanistan, killing three people and wounding another, an official said. The bomb hit the car in the Shahjoy district of Zabul province, in an area frequently patrolled by Afghan and international troops, said Shahjoy district chief Qayum Khan.

#2: Pakistan's envoy to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin, who went missing in February, appeared on Saturday in a video aired by Al-Arabiya news channel in which he said that he was held by the Taliban. "We were on our way to Afghanistan in our official car on February 11 when we were kidnapped in the region of Khyber... by the Mujahedeen (holy warriors) of the Taliban," said Azizuddin, according to an Arabic translation accompanying the video aired by the Dubai-based channel.

Casualty Reports:

Army Capt. Andrew J. Lynch, 31, suffered head and facial injuries caused by shrapnel, according to his parents, Gary and Nancy Lynch, of Geiger. “He received major injuries, and it was touch-and-go for awhile, but it is no longer life-threatening,” Gary Lynch said.He is with the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y. This was his third tour of duty overseas. He has also served in Pakistan and in Afghanistan.Lynch was injured April 14 by an improvised explosive device in Tuz, Iraq, while with his patrol. Spc. Arturo Huerta-Cruz, Clearwater, Fla., was killed in that attack. Another soldier was also severely injured.