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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

War News for Tuesday, April 29, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of three Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in an indirect-fire attack in an eastern neighborhood of Baghdad on Monday, April 28th. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in an indirect-fire attack in a western neighborhood of Baghdad on Monday, April 28th. No other details were released.

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier while on a patrol in the Tag Ab Valley, Kapisa province, Afghanistan on Tuesday, April 29th. One other soldier was wounded. No additional details were released but we assume this to be an American soldier.

Security incidents:

#1: Eight people were killed and 67 were wounded Tuesday in Baghdad's embattled eastern Sadr City district. Overnight clashes resulted in 42 injuries, officials at the Imam Ali and al-Sadr general hospitals said. Eight more were killed and 25 wounded in continuing firefights on Tuesday morning, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Twenty-four militants were killed and four US soldiers wounded in fierce clashes between US soldiers and fighters in the Sadr City district of Baghdad on Tuesday, the American military said. The fighting erupted at around 9:30 am (0630 GMT) when a US patrol was targeted with small arms fire in which a soldier was wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover told AFP.
As the soldier was being evacuated a US vehicle was struck by two roadside bombs, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, he said. The "complex" attack damaged the vehicle and wounded three other soldiers, he said, adding that another US vehicle was later damaged by a third road bomb. Stover said US soldiers defended themselves and "killed 24 enemy forces in a protracted gunbattle," adding that the firefight was still continuing.

Shiite militants ambushed a U.S. patrol in Baghdad's embattled Sadr City district on Tuesday and more than two dozen people were killed in the fighting, a U.S. military spokesman and Iraqi officials said. Six American soldiers were wounded. The clashes broke out at 9:30 a.m. after U.S. troops were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Stover said. As the troops were leaving the area, a vehicle was hit with two roadside bombs, Stover said.

#2: Also in Baghdad, a senior government official was killed in a roadside bombing in the north of the city. Dhia Jodi Jaber, director general at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, was hit by a roadside bomb as he left his home on Tuesday morning, the ministry's spokesman Abdullah al-Lami said.

A roadside bomb blew up outside the house of Dhiyaa al-Judi, a civil servant in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, killing him and wounding two of his guards in the Utaifiya district of eastern Baghdad, police said.

#3: The U.S. military said three soldiers were killed in eastern Baghdad by indirect fire, a reference to mortars or rockets. The statement did not give an exact location for the attack, but the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City has been the scene of intense fighting recently with Shiite militiamen.

#4: A fourth U.S. soldier was killed by a shell in western Baghdad, the military said.

#5: AUSTRALIAN soldiers in Iraq have come under heavy rocket fire in Baghdad's green zone after sandstorms sent blankets of dust across the city and provided cover for insurgents.

#6: Around 1:00 p.m. two mortar shells hit al Jaish club building (the Army Club) in Karrada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad. No casualties reported.

#7: Another mortar shell slammed into the area near the neurosurgery hospital in Bab al Sharj neighborhood in downtown Baghdad at the same time. No casualties reported.

#8: Two civilians were injured when a mortar shell hit al Muheet Street in Kadhemiyah neighborhood north Baghdad around 2,45 p.m.

#9: Three civilians were injured when a mortar shell slammed into a house in Karrad Maryam neighborhood in downtown Baghdad around 3:00 p.m.

#10: Two civilians were killed and five others were wounded when a Katyosha rocket hit New Baghdad neighborhood in east Baghdad around 3:15 p.m.

#11: Several people were believed killed on Tuesday in two US air strikes in the Baghdad bastion of Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, an AFP photographer and witnesses said. "Four houses have been heavily damaged," a resident of the Sadr City district said on condition of anonymity. Another witness said US forces launched the first air strike at around 1:30 pm (1030 GMT) in the southern section of Sadr City. "As a group of people came to rescue those buried in the collapsed houses, another air strike hit them," the witness said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Elsewhere, a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a bus stop near Muqdadiyah, about 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, killing one and wounding five people, police said.

Abu Saida:
#1: Also on Tuesday, a female suicide bomber blew herself up among a group of local Awakening Council fighters who were manning a checkpoint in the Abu Saida town in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, killing two of them and wounding 10 others.

#1: Unidentified gunmen opened fire at three civilians in Jalawlaa, Khanaqin district, (185 km) northeast of Baghdad, killing them instantly," a security source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

Balad Ruz:
#1: The same source said an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near an Iraqi army patrol in Baladruz district, (45 km) southeast of Baaquba, wounding three personnel.

#1: The supporting office of Qazanya district tribes east of Baquba found six unidentified bodies in a deserted house in one of the villages of Qazanya.

#1: Two bodies were found with gunshot wounds just outside Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: A roadside bomb struck an Iraqi Army patrol, wounding seven people including three soldiers in southern Kirkuk, police said.

#3: A roadside bomb wounded two policemen when it targeted their patrol in central Kirkuk on Monday, police said.

#1: Iraqi soldiers at a military base in Mosul, the capital of the northern province of Nineveh, foiled a suicide tanker bomb attack on their base, said the provincial police. The incident occurred at about 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) when a suicide bomber tried to drive his booby-trapped tanker into the army base in the al-Tanak area in western Mosul, Brigadier Khalid Abdul-Sattar, spokesman of the provincial security operations office told Xinhua. The soldiers at the entrance of the base ordered the tanker driver to stop before they opened fire with rocket propelled grenades and machinguns, causing a powerful explosion in the tanker which was heard on all over the city of Mosul, Sattar said. Only one soldier was injured by the blast because the soldiers blew up the tanker before reaching the fortified entrance of the base, added the spokesman.

#2: An Iraqi soldier was killed and five others were injured when a suicide car bomb attacked their check point in al Yarmouk neighborhood in west Mosul on Tuesday afternoon.

#1: A suspected suicide bomber killed 15 Afghans and wounded 14 more in eastern Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan on Tuesday, a NATO spokesman said. Initial reports said 25 Afghans were wounded in the blast near the district centre of Khogiani, a town south of the city of Jalalabad, but the number of wounded was later revised to 14, said Major Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

A suicide bomb tore through a team preparing to eradicate opium poppy fields in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 18 people, most of them policemen, the government said. The hardline Taliban movement said one of its men carried out the attack in the small town of Khogyani in the eastern province of Nangarhar, near the insurgency-hit border with Pakistan. The bomb struck as a counternarcotics team, which included the district governor, was preparing to travel to opium fields on a mission to rip up illegal poppy crops, the interior ministry said in a statement. "Eleven police and seven (civilians) lost their lives and 31 others were wounded," it said. The district chief was among the wounded, it said.

#2: U.S. Marines began moving in to capture a town from Taliban militants in the south, their first large operation in Afghanistan since arriving to reinforce NATO troops last month. The U.S. Marines' drive into the town of Garmsir in Helmand, the world' biggest opium producing region and a hotbed of insurgent activity, is the first significant fruit of that move.

Several militants were killed and 14 were arrested in western Afghanistan, while US marines and British forces launched a new major operation against a Taliban stronghold in a southern town, officials said on Tuesday. Afghan and US-led coalition forces killed "several militants" and detained 14 others during a search operation in Khash Rod district of western Nimroz province on Monday, US military said in a statement. The combined forces came under fire by rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns during the operation targeting a militant engaged in weapon movement to militants in the area, the statement said. The joint forces responded to the militants' attack with small-arms fire and air strikes, killing several of the rebels.

#3: (?) The Taliban shelled the Polish troops accused of unlawful civilian killings in Nangar Khel, Afghanistan, writes Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

#4: Sabri district chief escaped unharmed after a roadside bomb explosion blew up his vehicle in the restive southeastern Khost province early on Monday morning. Sabri district chief Gul Qasam Jihadyar told Pajhwok Afghan News the roadside bomb explosion took place on his way to the office in the district this morning. He said: "The explosion blew up a taxi after our vehicle passed." Blaming insurgents for the roadside bomb explosion he said the civilian taxi was damaged however no casualties caused to the onboard people. Taliban fighters have issued no comment on the incident.

Casualty Reports:

Spc. Ryan Bair of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Just last month, Bair was manning the gun turret of his Humvee during an escort mission in Iraq when a bomb went off nearby. As he turned his head in the direction of the blast -- at that very precise second -- a sniper's bullet glanced off the left side of his helmet, just above the ear. Had he not turned his head in that flash of time, he would have been killed. Even then, the impact of the bullet knocked him down with a concussion-type injury. Many of his fellow troops in the Humvee thought he was dead. The 26-year-old Bair, attached to Company C, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Brigade, reflected on that pivotal day in March.

Sgt. Marcus Kuboy a Twin Cities soldier wounded in a bomb attack a year ago while serving in the Minnesota National Guard. The Robbinsdale native, served three years of active duty for the Minnesota Guard until he suffered serious injuries in March 2007. He was patrolling the outskirts of Fallujah with his unit when his vehicle ran over an IED bomb. The explosion severely injured Duboy's legs and broke his back, left arm and jaw. In his initial nine months of recovery, Kuboy endured eight surgeries and spent four months at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. Kuboy, 30, a medic, is now getting more treatment in the Twin Cities.