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

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

War News for Wednesday, April 16, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of two Multi-National Force – West Marines in a roadside bombing somewhere in al Anbar Province on Monday, April 14th. No other details were released. The AP is reporting that a third Marine was injured in the attack.

NATO is reporting the deaths of two ISAF soldiers in an explosion in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, April 16th. Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack. No other details were released. At this time we do not know the nationalities of the dead or the location of the attack.

Security incidents:

#1: In Baghdad, clashes between U.S.-backed Iraqi troops and Shiite militiamen in the Sadr City district killed two men and injured 18 other people, police said Wednesday.

#2: The New York Times reported that an 80-strong company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions Tuesday night in Sadr City, leaving a crucial stretch of road undefended for hours despite pleas by American soldiers in the area for them to stay. The Iraqi company leader, who was identified as Maj. Sattar, and his troops complained that they were short of ammunition and overall poorly equipped to battle the militias and had no means to communicate directly with the U.S. troops positioned behind them, according to the newspaper. It added that an elite Iraqi unit was rushed in and began to fight its way north with the help of the Americans. The U.S. military said the report was factual and the Baghdad command would address the issue.

#3: In other violence Wednesday, a mortar shell slammed into a house in eastern Baghdad, killing at least three civilians and wounding three others, police said.

#4: Police found three bodies in different areas of Baghdad on Tuesday, police said.

#5: Six civilians were wounded on Wednesday in a mortar shell attack in eastern Baghdad, said a police source. “A mortar round landed near an elementary school in Palestine street region in eastern Baghdad, injuring six persons,” the source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#7: The U.S. military has released Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein after holding him for more than two years. Hussein was handed over to AP colleagues on Wednesday in Baghdad.
The U.S. military accused Hussein of links to insurgents. But an Iraqi judicial panel this month dismissed all allegations against Hussein and ordered his release. A U.S. military statement on Monday said Hussein is no longer considered a threat. Hussein and the AP strongly denied any improper contacts by the 36-year-old photographer, saying he was doing the normal work of a photographer in a war zone. Hussein was detained by U.S. Marines on April 12, 2006 in Ramadi.

#8: Around 5pm, 2 mortar shells hit the green zone (IZ) in downtown Baghdad. No casualties reported.

#9: Around 6 pm, a mortar shell hit the Idreesi petrol station in Qanat Street (east Baghdad). Five people were injured including two children.

#10: Police found 4 dead bodies in the following neighborhoods in Baghdad: Three were found in east Baghdad (Risafa bank); 1 in Baladiyat, 1 in Bab Al-Sheikh and 1 in Waziriyah. While 1 was found in Washash neighborhood in west Baghdad in Karkh bank.

#1: Tuesday night, gunmen opened fire on one of Al-Sistani representatives in Kut while he was on his way home after finishing prayers in the mosque downtown Kut city. The Sheikh Habib Al-Khateeb was injured and transferred to hospital.

#1: The British military says an airstrike in Basra has killed four gunmen armed with rocket propelled grenades. British spokesman Maj. Tom Holloway says the group was attacked just after midnight by a warplane. He says four gunmen died when their vehicle was blown up. Another gunman was injured.

#1: Police killed seven members of al Qaeda and arrested three other suspects in Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad in a security operation on April 12, the U.S. military said.

#1: A roadside bomb wounded two guards for a government department in the northern city of Kirkuk, police said.

#2: A bodyguard of the general director of the Kirkuk’s agriculture department was wounded on Wednesday by bomb blast in central Kirkuk, the second in less the hour, a police source said. "An explosive charge exploded in Tebba neighborhood in central Kirkuk targeting the private vehicle of the general director of the city’s agriculture department, Engineer Mahdi Mubarak, wounding one of his bodyguards and damaging the car,” the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#1: U.S. forces killed a man and his daughter after their vehicle patrol was attacked by Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPGs) in eastern Mosul, the official spokesman for the Ninewa operations command said on Wednesday. “Unidentified gunmen attacked a U.S. vehicle patrol by RPG on the main street in al-Maliya neighborhood in eastern Mosul,” Brig. Khaled Abdul Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq. “The forces stormed a nearby house, killing a man and his daughter,” he added.No word was immediately available from the U.S. army on the incident. Meanwhile, a source, declined to mention his name, told the VOI that “the forensic medicine department in the Mosul hospital received this morning two bodies of a man and his daughter gunned down by U.S. troops.”

#1: Turkish warplanes fired on a group of Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq on Tuesday as they tried to enter Turkey, the General Staff said on Wednesday. The General Staff said in a statement the warplanes had "neutralised," generally meaning killed, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels in the Avasin-Basyan region of northern Iraq. PKK spokesman Ahmet Danees, who is based in northern Iraq, said Turkish forces had bombed for an hour in the Zagros mountains, but that there were no casualties among the PKK. It was not possible to independently verify the reports.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Two U.S. Marines were killed on April 14 when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in Anbar province in western Iraq, the U.S. military said.

#2: Around 5am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Al-Zuaya in Hit (west of Ramadi) .The American forces closed the area for about two hours and left later with no casualties reported.

#1: Separately, militants abducted and beheaded two Afghan men working at a U.S. military base in the eastern Kunar province, provincial police Chief Abdul Jalal Jalal said. They were abducted Monday after they left the base in Korangal Valley. Their bodies were discovered Tuesday, Jalal said.

#2: Two Nato soldiers have been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said in a statement. Two soldiers have also been wounded in the attack which took place on Wednesday morning, it said.

#3: Fighting between Taliban militants and police in Afghanistan's southern Zabul province Wednesday left six persons including five insurgents and one police dead, an official said. "The clash occurred at 10 a.m. this morning when Taliban rebels opened fire on police in Adghar area of Zabul province killing one police and wounding another. Police retaliated and killed five rebels," Abdul Raziq the Commander of Border Police Force told Xinhua. He also added that Abdul Manan, a Taliban local commander, is also among the dead.

Casualty Reports:

Command Sgt. Maj. David Allard diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury suffering a brain injury in Iraq.