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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

War News for Thursday, May 15, 2008

#1: In Baghdad the Sadr City district came under renewed strain Thursday. Overnight and early morning clashes between U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and militiamen loyal to al-Sadr left eight men killed and 19 wounded, according to officials from two hospitals in the Shiite enclave. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media, said the wounded included women and children.

#2: The U.S. military, meanwhile, said Thursday that two militants were killed and a third was wounded late Wednesday by an air-to-ground Hellfire missile as they placed a roadside bomb on a road between Sadr City and the northern Sunni district of Azamiyah.

#3: In Sadr City, one person was killed when another Hellfire missile hit a group of militants also attempting to plant a bomb, said the military. The rest of the group fled when they heard the U.S. helicopter gunships approaching Wednesday night.

#4: Also in Baghdad on Thursday, police officials said a roadside bomb struck the convoy of the capital's Shiite governor, Hussein Tahan, as it made its way to pick him up from his home in the central Karradah district. One of his bodyguards was killed in the blast and six others - four other bodyguards and two bystanders - were wounded. The blast took place at 8:30 am in the central Nasr Square, according to the officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

#5: An Iraqi army soldier was killed and four more were wounded in a bomb blast that targeted a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol in western Baghdad on Thursday, a police source said. “An improvised explosive device went off targeting a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol in Nafaq al-Shurta region in western Baghdad, killing an Iraqi soldier and wounding four,” the source, who asked to be anonymous, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq. “The blast set an Iraqi Hummer on fire,” he noted.

#6: Meanwhile, the same source said that “another bomb went off targeting a U.S. vehicle patrol on al-Qanat road in eastern Baghdad, damaging a U.S. Hummer. ”No word was immediately available from the U.S. side on the incident.

#7: (Wednesday) Iraqi police found 5 unidentified dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Al Ameen, one in Karrada, one in Qadisiyah, one in Hurriyah, one in Dora.

Diyala Prv:
#1: At least two policemen were killed and four more wounded on Thursday as a roadside bomb exploded in Jalawla district, 200 km northeast of Baghdad, a local police source said. “An explosive charge went off, this morning, near a police vehicle on the main road linking Jalawla to al-Husseini village, killing two policemen and wounding four,” Colonel Ahmed Khalifa al-Qassab told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq. Jalawla, a mixed city of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, lies some 200 km northeast of Baghdad and is administratively run by Diala province.

#2: Another bomb exploded near a police vehicle patrols near Kashkoul village on the main road between Qura Taba and Jalawla in Khaneqeen district, northeast of Baaquba, injuring six cops, including an officer,” another police source said.

Balad Ruz:
#1: An explosive charge went off targeting a civilian vehicle in south of Baladruz region, killing two civilians,” the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#1: Government troops began house-to-house searches for al-Qaida in Iraq militants in Mosul on Thursday, part of a major security operation to cleanse Iraq's third largest city from cells of the terror network.

There were no reported clashes during the house-to-house searches in known al-Qaida strongholds in the western and eastern parts of the city. Al-Qaida militants had in the past fled from areas where they expected a security crackdown and reappeared elsewhere from which they launch renewed attacks.

#1: A suicide bomber wearing a burqa killed 15 people and wounded 22 when he blew himself up Thursday in a crowded market in western Afghanistan, a provincial official said. Three policemen, including a district police chief, and 12 civilians were among the dead. The police tried to stop the bomber seconds before he exploded in the Dilaram district of Farah province, said the provincial official, Younus Rasoul.

#2: Some missiles were fired from a drone and hit the tribal area in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday and 12 people were killed, local TV channel Geo reported. The drone fired missiles at a house in Damadola area of Bajaur tribal agency, leaving 12 people dead.Pakistani Taliban spokesman Maulvi Umar was quoted by local TV channels as saying that the house of Taliban leader Maulvi Ubaidullah was targeted.

#3: A UN rights official has alleged that foreign intelligence agents have taken part in secret raids in Afghanistan that have killed civilians. UN special rapporteur Philip Alston told reporters Thursday in Kabul that he is aware of at least three such recent raids in the country's south and east. He said no one was taking responsibility for the killings. He said one raid in January that killed two Afghan brothers was conducted by Afghans and personnel from a U.S. special forces base in Kandahar. He said Afghan government officials said the victims had no connection to Taliban insurgents. Alston said foreign intelligence agencies were operating with "impunity" in certain provinces. He said such operations were "absolutely unacceptable."

#4: An Italian soldier was injured in Afghanistan on Thursday when a bomb targeted a convoy patrolling 30 kilometres outside the capital Kabul. The remote-controlled explosive device went off in the area of Qal-eh-Lanan in the province of Musai which has been the focus of previous attacks against Italian soldiers in Afghanistan. The Italian soldier, Andrea Tomasello, who belongs to the second regiment of Cuneo suffered injuries to his legs and was transferred via helicopter to the French military hospital in Kabul. Preliminary reports said Tomasello's injuries are not life-threatening.

Three Italian soldiers were injured in a roadside bomb attack near the Afghan capital of Kabul Thursday, according to Italian Defense Ministry. Two of the soldiers suffered only minor injuries, while the third was said to have suffered a more serious but non life-threatening wound. The attack took place in the early hours of Thursday in the district of Mushai, some 30 km from Kabul, where similar attacks have been carried out against Italian forces. At the time of the attack, the three soldiers were on their way to Qal-et-Tanan village on a veterinary mission.

Casualty Reports:

Pfc. Jeffrey Rosas was shot in the chest while in Iraq. Rosas is in the middle of what the hospital staff members are calling a miraculous recovery. A nurse at Walter Reed told his parents that medical staff were debating taking him off life support as recently as May 8. Rosas, a 2007 Carroll High School graduate, was shot in the chest during a May 6 training exercise with his unit near the Sadr City area of Baghdad. He still has an IV and is on oxygen to help him breathe. He has a few tubes to drain his wound where the bullet passed through his left lung. "The doctors said it was a little too close for comfort to the heart," his mother said. Rosas joined the Army at 17 between his junior and senior year of high school and had been serving with the 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colo.

U.S. Army First Lt. Henchman, 25, was leading a platoon of soldiers near Tikrit, Iraq, when he and eight others were wounded by an improvised explosive device Saturday (5-10-08), said his brother, Scott Cooper. Six of the soldiers went back to their units, but Henchman’s injuries sent him to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where his right leg was amputated at the knee, Cooper said. After West Point, Henchman attended Airborne Ranger training and was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. He is due to be promoted to captain this summer, Cooper said.

U.S. Marine Evan Morgan was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when a Humvee he was riding in was struck by a roadside bomb. The 23-year-old lost both legs and the sight in his right eye in the explosion. Despite spending more than 15 months in hospitals, Morgan treats life as a precious gift.

Staff Sergeant David Gardner of the 82nd Airborne soldier lost part of his right leg when a small tracked vehicle ran over it in Iraq. The left track grabbed my right foot and just sucked me right up underneath. Crushed both legs and then as soon as they started putting the sprints and tourniquets on my legs we started take sniper fire," Gardner said.

Former Staff Sergeant, Luke Murphy-- "April 25th, 2006 it was a long day. We were on a patrol, probably 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. It was real dark. My vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb," he says, "I remember the large bang. A lot of heat, and then pain... I looked down and I could see my right leg was missing above the knee there and my left leg was kind of blown beside me."