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, May 24, 2008

War News for Saturday, May 24, 2008

The AP is reporting the death of an Estonian ISAF soldier after being injured while unloading equipment from a truck in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, May 24th. Sgt. Major Ivar Brok died in a military hospital in Kandahar overnight after a spare wheel of a heavy armored vehicle rolled over him at the British Camp Bastion. Here's the Estonian MoD statement.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Whidbey bomb disposal unit pays a high price in Iraq war. This is the headquarters of the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Detachment Mobil Unit 11, more simply called the EOD. The six were fellow bomb disposers, all killed in Iraq. The 160 sailors in this highly select, perpetually tested band are known for their cool under pressure. Their training never seems to end: underwater diving, parachuting and practicing ground warfare. They test themselves constantly to outthink bombmakers.

#2: Iraqi soldiers let their guard down after taking over the Baghdad stronghold of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. But residents of Sadr City slum interviewed yesterday were not so relaxed. They doubt a truce between Iraqi troops and Sadr’s Mehdi Army fighters will bring stability to the area anytime soon...

#3: U.S. and Iraqi troops swept Shiite neighborhoods in southwestern Baghdad on Friday, detaining hundreds of suspects, witnesses and police sources said on Saturday. The troops surrounded and searched the neighborhoods of Baiyaa and al-Amil for several hours starting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.local time, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The source said that more than 200 suspected militiamen loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have been detained during the raids in the two adjacent neighborhoods. Witnesses told Xinhua that the troops rounded up more than 300 people, some of them teenagers and elderly men.

#4: (Friday) 2 unidentified bodies were found in Saidiyah, southwest Baghdad by Iraqi Police today.

#5: Three people were killed when a minibus was attacked with a roadside bomb in Baghdad.
Four people were also wounded in the attack this afternoon. All the dead and wounded were passengers in the vehicle, which was hit at around 1pm in the Sunni-dominated Al-Mansur district in the capital's east.

#6: U.S. forces killed three al Qaeda militants and arrested 17 others during operations on Friday and Saturday in various areas of Iraq, the U.S. military said.

#7: A rocket blast wounded two people near the Adhamiya area of northern Baghdad, police said.

#8: Police found three unidentified bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Zayuna, one in Ubaidi, one in Dora.

Diyala Prv:
#1: In one incident, militants opened fire on a location of the Awakening Council in Baquba's Had Mokasar's area, killing one member, police sources told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency.

#2: At least three members of a family were wounded on Saturday as a Katyusha rocket landed on their house in Jalawlaa district, 200 km northeast of Baghdad, a police source said.

#2: In Baquba's Behrez area, militants attacked another meeting point of the Awakening Council, injuring two members.

#1: An Iraqi army officer with the rank of Captain was killed and five soldiers were wounded on Saturday as gunmen attacked an army base in Diala, central Iraq, a police source said. “Unknown gunmen waged an attack on an Iraqi National Guards base in al-Samah area near Khanaqin district, 155 km northeast of Ba’aquba, killing Captain Farouq al-Mandilawi and wounding five more soldiers,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq.

#1: Police forces in the Shiite holy city of Karbala killed a gunman and wounded another in clashes that broke out at a district just outside the city, police chief said on Saturday. “The clashes erupted last night in al-Hussayniya district, 20 km north of Karbala, while police forces were about to arrest two gunmen involved in killing a policeman,” Major-General Raed Shawkat, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq. The police chief added “the one-hour-long clashes left a gunman dead and the other wounded.”

#1: Four gunmen stormed a currency exchange office in central Basra killing the owner and fled the place.

#1: Two women's bodies were found with gunshot wounds near Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Another police source said they were killed in the crossfire of a clash between two tribes.

#1: In the Iraqi province of Nineveh, police sources told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency that members of a US patrol opened fire on civilians, killing two and wounding a child. Sources said that US forces shot at civilians after an explosive device was detonated in the Nabi Younes area in the northern city of Mosul. No further details were mentioned about the incident, while the US military did not comment on the attack when contacted

A bomb attack targeted a U.S. foot patrol in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on Saturday, killing two Iraqi civilians and wounding three U.S. soldiers, a local police source said. The attack occurred when a gunman threw a hand grenade on the soldiers in a popular marketplace in Nabi Younis neighborhood in eastern the city of Mosul, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The U.S. troops immediately cordoned off the scene to secure the area and evacuated the casualties, the source said. The U.S. military did not confirm the incident yet.

#2: A roadside bomb wounded two Iraqi soldiers when it exploded near their vehicle in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad.

#3: Mosul Mayor Zuheir al-Aaraaji said a roadside bomb wounded two guards in the convoy he was traveling in.

#4: Police found two dead bodies of two women were shot in different parts of their bodies near Perdey town north of Kirkuk. Police also found beside the deceased women a kid, about 5 years old, who was hospitalized.

#1: Guards of the local Kurdish security militia, Asayesh, shot and injured a taxi driver as he failed to stop at a check point and hit the concrete barrier at the militia's headquarter in Erbil yesterday

#1: Medics in Iraqi Kurdistan said on Saturday that they had seen a surge in violence against women in May, with both so-called "honour" killings and female suicide on the increase. "At least 14 women died in the first 10 days of May alone," a doctor said in the region's second largest city of Sulaimaniyah. "Seven of them took their own lives, the other seven were murdered in still unexplained circumstances," apparently the victims of "honour" killings. "Over the same period, we recorded 11 attempted self-immolations -- these women were so desperate they set fire to themselves," the doctor added, asking not to be identified.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: update U.S. military officials said Saturday seven Marines and two Iraqi police officers were wounded by a roadside bomb in the city of Fallujah.A civilian interpreter was killed in the incident, military officials told CNN, which said the Iraqi Interior Ministry described the attack as a suicide car bombing that happened at a government security checkpoint.

#1: The U.S.-led coalition says several insurgents have been killed and six others detained during an operation in southern Afghanistan. A coalition statement says its troops clashed and called in airstrikes on insurgents during an operation in Garmser district of Helmand province on Friday.

#2: A police official and his driver have been killed and two gunmen injured in an explosion occurred in the Nasir Bagh area of Peshawar on Saturday. According to sources, the SHO and his driver have been killed and two gunmen injured seriously when a roadside remote-controlled bomb hit their vehicle.

About two hours later, another bomb struck a vehicle in Peshawar that was carrying local police chief Khaista Khan, killing him and his driver. Two policemen were wounded the attack, he said.

#3: Government officials in Afghanistan are expressing outrage over the decision by the U.S. military not to prosecute any of the Marines involved in a notorious shooting incident last year.
Afghanistan's human rights commission says as many as 19 civilians were killed and 50 other people were wounded by gunfire as an American convoy drove along a 10-mile stretch of road. Witnesses say the gunfire broke out after a suicide attack on the convoy. The Afghan commission concluded that the Marines fired indiscriminately at vehicles and pedestrians at six different locations as they drove away.

#4: Hundreds of NATO soldiers got a dash of Canadian music and humour last night before a Taliban rocket attack forced a troupe of entertainers to temporarily douse the lights at Kandahar Airfield. The music and jokes had been flying for about an hour when the first explosion and siren forced everyone to scurry for nearby bunkers. No one was hurt.

#5: The first attack happened in Bara, a town 10 miles east of Peshawar, when a roadside bomb exploded near a civilian vehicle, killing one person and wounding three others, the official Ata Ullah said.

#6: Five Taliban militants were killed in a mine explosion in southern Afghanistan. The Taliban militants were killed when the mine they were trying to place on a road in the Musa Qala district of southern Helmand province exploded prematurely on Friday, Mohammad Hussain Andewala, provincial police chief, said.

#7: (?) four police officers were wounded and two Taliban militants were detained in a clash, officials said Saturday.

#8: Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousif Ahmadi meanwhile said that the militants had attacked some ten Afghan security posts in the Musa Qala district.

#9: NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels last week that attacks in Afghanistan were up 50 percent in April from last year. That number is not considered to be as significant as the jump between March and April. That is because attacks are up 25 percent nationwide over the past year, probably because there are more international troops in Afghanistan. Officials have reported the deaths of 68 ISAF troops across Afghanistan so far in 2008. A total of 232 were killed in 2007. Officials with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that attacks in eastern Afghanistan in the past three or four weeks have jumped to about 100 a week from 60 a week in March.

On The Home Front:

#1: A 21-year-old Marine, Cpl. Chad E. Oligschlaeger, died in his barracks Tuesday at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.First Lt. Curtis Williamson, the public information officer for 1st Marine Division, said the investigation into what caused Oligschlaeger’s death is ongoing. He could not comment further until the investigation is complete.Oligschlaeger, an Austin, Texas, native, was found unresponsive in his barracks room, where he was pronounced dead by the Marine base fire department. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. A mortarman, Oligschlaeger joined the Marine Corps on July 19, 2004, and had served in Iraq twice.

Casualty Reports:

Marine Sergeant Shurvon Phillip, 27, was in Iraq's Anbar Province, in May 2005 was riding back to his base after a patrol when an anti-tank mine exploded under his Humvee. The Humvee's other soldiers were dealt an assortment of wounds: concussions, broken bones, herniated discs. Along with a broken jaw and a broken leg, Phillip suffered one of the war's signature wounds on the American side: though no shrapnel entered his head, the blast rattled his brain profoundly. A portion of the left side of his skull had been cut away to relieve the pressure of the casing of bone against his swelling brain. "His head," Ulerie said, "looked like a ball with the air half out of it." Piero and Clay Kelly, the hospital's chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation, explained that Phillip had hardly progressed from when he first arrived at the Cleveland facility; he remained in a nearly vegetative state and was seen as having, in the words of an evaluating neurologist, "little hope for improvement." But Piero said a system of nostril-flaring that Phillip mastered with his speech therapist had made him able last spring to respond reliably to yes-or-no questions. This breakthrough, Piero said, dissuaded the team from diminishing his physical work.

Michigan National Guard veteran Sgt. Michelle Rudzitis, 33, recounted losing her right leg to a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 22, 2007. Her Humvee was the only vehicle in a convoy struck by a bomb that hurls a piece of molten copper through steel. Two in the crew were killed and two were injured, including Rudzitis, whose right leg was severely damaged. Rudzitis, a former Farmington Hills resident who lives in Traverse City, said the Humvee's extra armor had been removed because it was to be refitted with new shielding. Her description of the injuries -- her eyelashes were fused by the blast so she could not open her eyes, and she woke up in a hospital with her leg amputated.

Army National Guard Sgt. Ralph McCallum, 23, it was June 2007 and he was riding in the gunner position atop a convoy’s scout truck as it traveled through southern Iraq. A roadside bomb hidden behind a lamppost suddenly detonated, knocking McCallum off the peak of the Humvee and inside the vehicle, which soon caught on fire.Rescuers pulled him from the burning Humvee, but he came away with deep lacerations on the left side of his head as well as his left forearm, and the radial tendon in his right hand was sliced. Three soldiers inside the fortified vehicle suffered concussions.

Spc. B.J. Jackson of the Iowa National Guard woke up at Brooke Army Medical Center after he lost both legs and was severely burned by a land mine in Iraq.

Jacob "Jake" Knospler. Jake is a 26-year-old Marine. This great Marine and American served two tours in Iraq. In 2004, while fighting in Fallujah, he was injured when an enemy grenade put a hole in his cheek and upper jaw. The right side of his brain was injured and he was partially blind and deaf. There were other injuries to his body. He already had 22 surgeries.

U.S. Army Spc. Matt McCool suffered multiple skull fractures and a concussion from a bomb in Iraq in late March. McCool was treated at Walter Reed National Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and at the Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. He later returned home.

Army veteran Rob Kislow lost his lower right leg in a firefight in Iraq two years ago