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

Monday, May 26, 2008

War News for Monday, May 26, 2008

Photo: A U.S. armoured vehicle burns at Al Canal street, near Sadr city, Baghdad, Iraq, after a roadside bomb exploded next to a U.S. military convoy, Monday, May 26, 2008, police said. There was no immediate U.S. Army confirmation regarding the blast.(AP Photo/Mahmoud al-Badri)

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Coalition force Soldier in a roadside bombing in Salah ad-Din Province on Monday, May 26th. Two other soldier were wounded in the attack.

NATO is reporting the death of a ISAF soldier in an explosion in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, May 25th. Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack. The British MoD is confirming the death of a British soldier two kilometres north of Sangin, Kandahar Province.

The AFP is reporting the death of a U.S. coalition soldier CJTF-101 in Afghanistan on Sunday, May 25th. No other details were released. The AP reports the attack was in Farah province.

The DoD is reporting a new death of a soldier from a hit-and-run driver while on leave from the Iraq theater of operations. Pfc. Howard A. Jones, Jr. died in Chicago, Ill. on Sunday, May 18th.

The AFP is reporting the death of a soldier in a roadside bomb attack in Najaf, An Najaf Province on Sunday, May 25th. Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack. Reuters reports the attack was in Ash-Shamiyah district in Qadisiyah province.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier from a non-combat related cause on Saturday, May 24th. No other details were released.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Another roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi army checkpoint on the road that leads to the Baghdad International Airport, wounding five people, including one Iraqi soldier and four civilians, police said. The blast sent up a huge plume of black smoke and caused vendors at nearby kiosks selling soft drinks to run for cover.

#2: The U.S. military said Sunday that the number of attacks by militants in the last week dropped to a level not seen in Iraq since March 2004. About 300 violent incidents were recorded in the seven-day period that ended Friday, down from a weekly high of nearly 1,600 in mid-June, according to a chart provided by the military.

#3: Rising prices of food, energy and other commodities worldwide pushed up Iraq's inflation rate to 16 per cent last month, compared to 11 per cent at the beginning of this year, the country's central bank said.

#4: A roadside bomb detonated in a parking lot near a police station in Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Sha'ab, wounding nine people, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The blast destroyed a minibus and caused damages to several nearby civilian cars, the source said.

#5: A third roadside bomb struck a U.S. patrol in the al-Qanat Street near Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Sadr City, leaving a Humvee on fire, he said. The source could not say whether the U.S. soldiers sustained casualties as the troops immediately cordoned off the area. The U.S. military did not confirm the incident yet.

#6: The Iraqi government has replaced some of the top officials in state-owned oil companies in southern Iraq, tightening its grip on an industry that fuels the economy but has been outside of its direct control. The shake-up, which has largely escaped public notice, affects industries in the southern oil hub of Basra. The Baghdad government has removed the heads of the South Oil Company, which is in charge of exports, the South Gas Company and the Iraqi Oil Tankers Company since mid-May, local officials and the Oil Ministry told Reuters.

#7: Around 4:00 p.m. a mortar shell hit al Muthanna airport in west Baghdad. No news about casualties.

#8: An Iraqi soldier was killed and eight others were wounded in a parked car bomb in the entrance of Hurriyah neighborhood in west Baghdad around 6:00 p.m.

#9: Police found two unidentified bodies in Baghdad. The first body was found in Shaab neighborhood while the second body was found in Amil neighborhood.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Suspected al-Qaida fighters also kidnapped Sheik Saleh al-Karkhi and his brother after blowing up his house in the village of Busaleh in the volatile Diyala province north of the capital, a police official said, declining to be identified because he wasn't supposed to release the information. The official, who read the report at the provincial military operations command center in Baqouba, said al-Karkhi was probably abducted because he had set up two awakening councils in the area and "took it upon himself to fight al-Qaida."

#2: Four shepherds disappeared along with their livestock on Monday in the desert areas in southwest Baaquba, an official security source said. "Four herdsmen disappeared today in the desert area in Baladruz, southwest of Baaquba," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. "Their families informed security authorities of their disappearance along with scores of livestock," he added.

#1: A roadside bomb exploded in the al Shamiyah area south of Najaf at around 9 p.m. on Sunday. A source from the Iraqi army has told us that an American humvee was destroyed, a soldier was killed and two others were injured. US military said in an emailed reply that they confirm the new of the death of a coalition soldier.

#1: An ambulance driver and a policeman were wounded on Sunday when a roadside bomb exploded near an ambulance close to the town of Taza, 220 km (130 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

A driver of an ambulance and a civilian were injured when a roadside bomb exploded in Tuz Khurmatu town south of Kirkuk on Monday morning.

Tuz Khurmato:
#1: A source in the Kurdish security forces (Asayish) said that a bomb exploded near the house of a Turkmen teacher in al Askari neighborhood in downtown Tuz Khurmatu south of Kirkuk city on Monday morning.

#1: A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed at least six members of a U.S.-backed neighborhood patrol and wounded 18 others on Monday, police said. The attack took place at a checkpoint in Tarmiya, a town just north of Baghdad.

Those killed included a policeman, two awakening council guards and a civilian, according to the police. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

#1: A grenade tossed at a police patrol wounded eight people, including one policeman, in central Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: The body of a prison warden was found with bullets in the head and chest in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles), north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: In another incident Monday, two Afghan policemen were killed when Taliban militants ambushed their patrol with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire in the central province of Ghazni, a district official said.

#2: Two Afghan security guards working for a US-owned security firm were wounded in a similar ambush in the same province on Sunday, deputy provincial police chief Mohammad Zaman said.

#3: Also Sunday, an Afghan security guard working for the same company, called USPI, was killed in an ambush in neighbouring Wardak province, a police commander said, also blaming the Taliban.

#4: United States drones have violated Pakistani airspace five times in North Waziristan. According to the Daily Times, unmanned US drones and fighter jets are spreading fear among residents. The US spy planes had been continuously violating the Pakistani airspace for the last four days. In Afghanistan, the fighter and unmanned planes of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces violated Pakistan’s airspace and intruded several kilometres inside North Waziristan tribal region on Sunday.

#5: Four Shiite Muslims were gunned down in a suspected sectarian attack in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province on Monday, police said. The victims, all belonging to the same family, were traveling in a motor rickshaw when the assailants intercepted them on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan town, area police chief Salahuddin Khan Kundi said. A policeman was also shot dead when he challenged the attackers as they fled the scene, according to Kundi.

On the home front:

#1: A nuclear powered US aircraft carrier caught on fire while sailing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America that left 24 US sailors in need of medical attention, the Navy said Friday. The large blaze erupted Thursday in the rear of the USS George Washington before quickly spreading through a cableway and causing extreme heat before it was extinguished, the Navy said. One sailor was being treated for first degree burns while 23 received medical attention for heat stress, the Navy said, adding there were no serious injuries.

Bill Culp unit was sent to Baghdad's Green Zone. As a medic, Culp's job was helping others. He helped treat a wounded soldier from Zanesville who ended up dying, his mother said. Culp died Friday of injuries suffered when a van collided with the motorcycle he was riding at Shannon and Gender roads, on the Far East Side. The 39-year-old was taken to Grant Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Casualty Reports:

Joseph Townsend, 22, lost both legs in a mine blast in Afghanistan earlier this year. British.

Pvt. Nathon Bagwell is now recovering from a gunshot wound he received in an April 27 attack on his platoon in Sadr City at Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta. While he receives treatment for the damage done to his spine, has undergone numerous surgeries to repair the damage done when an enemy’s bullet pierced the left side of his stomach, damaged his intestines and his left kidney and shattered a vertebra in his lower spine. When he regains his strength, Bagwell will face another, 10-hour surgery that will reconnect his bladder and his left kidney, but his mother said that surgery will have to wait for another two to three months.

Private Liam Haven suffered wounds to his arm, neck and face when his Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, 17 May 2008. The 19 year old is assessed as being in a stable condition. The nature of his wounds remains medical-in-confidence. Australian