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 23, 2008

War News for Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The DoD is reporting the death of a sailor, Airman Apprentice Adrian M. Campos was found dead in a non-combat related incident in Dubai on Monday, April 21st. No other details were released and the incident is under investigation.

The DoD is reporting the death of a sailor, Petty Officer 1st Class Cherie L. Morton who died in Galali, Muharraq, Bahrain on Sunday, April 20th. The details on her death weren't released and the cause of death is under investigation.

Roughly 18 U.S. veterans commit suicide every week, advocates told a federal judge April 21 in San Francisco. "The suicide problem is out of control," said Gordon Erspamer, an attorney representing the groups Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United for Truth in a class action lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs. "Our veterans deserve better." "Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see in our medical facilities."

Security incidents:

#1: U.S. forces said on Wednesday they had killed 15 gunmen overnight in Shi'ite areas of Baghdad, where fighting has raged for weeks between militiamen loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and security forces. In a statement, the U.S. military said ground forces and aircraft had been involved in several attacks. The first began around dusk on Tuesday, the military said.
One hospital in Sadr City, the cleric's stronghold in eastern Baghdad, said it had received five bodies overnight from clashes and air strikes. It said 22 people had been wounded.

#2: In eastern Baghdad, US and Iraqi troops launched more security sweeps in Sadr City, the enclave of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia. Explosions and an exchange of fire were heard in the slum area, where government troops backed by US forces are launching a crackdown on followers of al-Sadr. At least seven people were killed and 16 injured, most of them Iraqi troops, during operations against armed groups in Baghdad over the last 24 hours, according to an Iraqi military statement.

#3: Fierce fighting broke out during a military operation late Tuesday in Husseiniyah, a mainly Shiite area that sits to the north of Baghdad's embattled Sadr City district. U.S. and Iraqi troops were backed by helicopters as they fought until Wednesday morning with suspected Shiite militiamen who dominate the area, police said. Women and children were among 20 people who were wounded, they said.

#4: Police and hospital officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, also said eight civilians were killed and 44 others wounded in fighting in Sadr City, a sprawling district in northeastern Baghdad.

#5: A seriously wounded man died as an ambulance speeding him to the hospital was caught in the crossfire, and an elementary school was damaged, police said.

#6: U.S. soldiers responded after they were attacked by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire, killing 12 "criminals" in three separate incidents Tuesday in eastern Baghdad, the military said.

#7: A man planting a roadside bomb in northeastern Baghdad also was shot to death by American soldiers in northeastern Baghdad, while two others spotted with a mortar tube were killed in an airstrike, according to the military statement.

#8: Almost 700 rockets and mortar rounds were fired from various locations in Baghdad in the past month, 114 of which hit at the highly fortified Green Zone, a US commander said on Wednesday.Colonel Allen Batschelet said that a total of 697 rockets and mortar bombs were fired in the Iraqi capital between March 23 and April 20.Of these 114 hit the Green Zone, also known as the International Zone (IZ), where the Iraqi government and US embassy are based, he said."Eighty-two percent of the rockets and mortars that hit the IZ originated from Sadr City," said Batschelet.

#9: Around 8am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Al-Butil at Zafaraniyah neighborhood (east Baghdad).Two civilians were injured with no information on the American’s side.

#10: Around 2 pm, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol on the high way of Mikanik in Dora (south Baghdad). No casualties reported.

#11: Around noon, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Nafaq Al-Shurta neighborhood (west Baghdad) .Six people were injured including two policemen.

#12: Around 2 pm, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Qahtan intersection near Yarmouk neighborhood (west Baghdad).Three civilians were injured in that incident.

Diyala Prv:
#1: update A woman suicide bomber killed 18 people and wounded two in an attack on a police station in Iraq's Diyala province, the US military said Wednesday. Eleven Iraqi civilians and seven policemen were killed in the attack on Monday evening, the military statement said.

#1: Iraqi police found two bodies near oil pipelines close to Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad. They said the dead were guards of the pipeline facility, police said.

#2: In the morning, An American squad raided Albu Marouf village at Al-Jazira area (25 km south west Tikrit) .One person was killed and seven others were arrested by the American squad who are from one family .Also six cars were damaged in that incident. We have no confirmation of that incident from the MNF-I at the time of this report.

#1: In the morning, gunmen injured the teacher Jalal Khorsheed in Hawija Bahriyah in Dhulwiya (south of Tikrit and 80 km north of Baghdad).

#1: Five unidentified bodies were buried on Wednesday in southern Kirkuk, the head of the religious committee said.

#1: In Mosul, which has become a hotbed of Sunni insurgency, a bomb blast killed a civilian and injured four others in the northern Rashidiya district, Major Fadil Kuran from the city police told the Voices of Iraq news agency.

#2: In the centre of Mosul, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew himself up inside a currency exchange office in Dawasa, killing two people, one of whom was an army officer, and injuring six, according to Brigadier General Khalid Abdel-Sattar, the spokesman for the Nineveh operations command.

#3: Shortly after the suicide bombing, a car bomb detonated by remote control went off, also in the centre of the city, injuring three people, including a policeman, Abdel-Sattar said.

#4: A policeman was killed in clashes between gunmen and police in western Mosul, police said.

#1: In Kandahar province, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to a vehicle carrying intelligence agents in the border town of Spin Boldak, killing three civilians, Kandahar Gov. Assadullah Khalid said. Two children and three intelligence agents were among the 14 hurt, Khalid said. A 16-year-old boy who was wounded in the explosion said police shot at the bomber before he detonated explosives. "Police opened fire at the man after he ran toward a group of civilians. He then threw his shawl and then there was a big explosion," said Rehmat Ullah.

#2: In neighboring Helmand province, a suicide bomber struck a police convoy, killing two officers and wounding three, said district police chief Khairudin Shuhja. Shuhja was in the convoy but was not injured in the attack. As the bomber approached the car, guards opened fire, wounding the attacker, who then blew himself up, Shuhja said.

#3: In eastern Kunar province, Taliban militants attacked a police border post, killing five officers and wounding seven others, said provincial police chief Abdul Jalal Jalal.

#4: Separately, a border police patrol in northwestern Badghis province hit a mine, killing three officers riding in the vehicle, regional police chief Gen. Khalil Andarabi said.

Casualty Reports:

Lt. Col. Ray Rivas, of New Braunfels, was presented with a Purple Heart on Tuesday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Incoming mortars and indirect fire left Rivas with a serious brain injury on October 12, 2006 while he was working as a civil affairs officer at the Tallil Forward Operating Base in Iraq, according to an Army release. Rivas says he doesn’t remember the details of the incident, or what he was doing that moment he was wounded.In fact, Rivas — who then was employed as an Army engineer — returned to work immediately. That day in October, “he wasn’t even taken in immediately for treatment, but as the brain started to swell, his behavior got more and more bizarre,” his wife Colleen Rivas said. Soon, others began to notice Ray behaving strangely, and medical personnel gave him an MRI. The scan revealed serious brain injuries. Then, en route to Germany, his heart stopped.“He was down for four minutes,” Colleen said. “They were going to pronounce him dead, but they brought him back.”

Captain Martin Hewitt, aged 27, is still recovering from serious injury, having been shot in the right arm last July. The bullet severed the nerves in his arm, leaving him with dramatically impaired mobility in the limb. Martin joined the army in 2004 and is a platoon commander in the Parachute Regiment.