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 22, 2008

War News for Thursday, May 22, 2008

The USA Today is reporting the death of a ISAF soldier from gunfire during a protest against an American sniper who shot at a copy of the Quran in Iraq, near an airfield in western Ghor province, Afghanistan, on Thursday, May 22nd. Two other civilians were killed when police opened fire on protesters and one soldier and and seven civilians were wounded in the incident. Here's the official NATO statement. The AFP is reporting the dead soldier as Sergeant Arunas Jarmalavicius and he is from from Lithuania.

Reported Security incidents:

Mideast weather roundup:

Baghdad, Iraq: The temperature was 104 degrees at 3:55 p.m. local time under sunny skies. Tonight will be clear with a low of 81 degrees.

Kabul, Afghanistan: The temperature was 86 degrees at 3:50 p.m. local time under partly sunny skies. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low of 60 degrees and a chance of rain.

Kuwait City: The temperature was 108 degrees at 3 p.m. local time with blowing dust. Tonight will be clear with a low of 85 degrees

#1: An Iraqi satellite TV channel says its cameraman has been killed during clashes in eastern Baghdad. Tariq Maher, a correspondent for the Afaq TV station, says Wissam Ali Auda was killed Wednesday by sniper fire in the Obeidi area. Maher says the 30-year-old cameraman apparently got caught in the crossfire as he was on his way home. The U.S. military says 11 suspected gunmen were killed in fighting with Shiite militia fighters.

A reporter for the Washington Post was shot to death today in Baghdad, Iraq. The Washington Post said Salih Saif Aldin was shot and killed while taking photographs of several houses that were burned. The paper said the killing was a deliberate attack on the reporter. Salih Saif Aldin, 32, was shot once in the head, apparently at close range, other details of the killing.

#3: Several US soldiers exposed to a 2003 sulfur plant fire in Iraq have been diagnosed with a lung disorder that constricts small airways of the lung, making them unfit for duty, US researchers said on Wednesday. Doctors at Vanderbilt University in Nashville identified the illness after evaluating 56 soldiers stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who suffered from unexplained shortness of breath after exercise. Miller and colleagues eventually took lung samples from 31 of the soldiers who were referred to Vanderbilt, and 29 had a form of bronchiolitis, a condition that involves a narrowing of the small airways of the lung. "Of the 31, seven had biopsies and did not have this exposure, which says there are probably other inhalation exposures in Iraq that these guys are exposed to," said Miller. He and colleagues presented the findings at a meeting of the American Thoracic Society in Toronto.

#4: 6 unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad by Iraqi Police today. 1 in New Baghdad; 1 in Kamaliyah; 2 in Bayaa; 1 in Amil and1 in Saidiyah.

Diyala Prv:
#1: The body of another journalist, Haidar Hashem al-Husseini, was found in the town of Baquba northeast of Baghdad on Wednesday, two days after he was kidnapped, a local police official said. His hands and feet bound, he had been shot execution style and dumped in a common grave with eight other bodies. Abdul Rassul Ziyara, editor of the As-Sharq, confirmed the death.

#1: A U.S. helicopter airstrike on Wednesday night killed eight civilians, including two children, north of Baghdad, police officials said on Thursday. Colonel Mudhher al-Qaisi, police chief in the town of Baiji, said the attack was on a group of shepherds in a vehicle in a farming area. Relatives said some of those killed were fleeing on foot after the U.S. military arrived in the area. A U.S. military spokeswoman, Lieutenant-Colonel Maura Gillen, said the helicopter fired on the vehicle after observing "suspicious activity." She said the driver had ignored warnings to stop. "There were two boys, one was eight and the other was 11," said police Major Ahmed Hussein, giving the ages of two of the victims. A doctor at Baiji hospital who asked not to be named said it had received eight bodies following the incident early on Wednesday evening. One body was that of a 60-year-old man.

#1: An Iraqi policeman was killed by unidentified gunmen Thursday in Kirkuk, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad, a source in the Iraqi police said. The source said the gunmen ran away after shooting the policeman.

#1: Police said five kidnapped Iraqi soldiers were found shot dead near the northern city of Mosul. A roadside bomb exploded as security forces went to investigate, wounding seven soldiers and two policemen, including a police lieutenant-colonel, police said.

#1: Increasingly, NATO allies, which are under growing pressure to bring troops home, are balking at sending soldiers to reinforce the more than 60,000 foreign troops — 34,000 of them American — already in the country. Senior Bush administration officials say they may send 7,000 American troops next year to fill the gap.

#2: Four NATO soldiers were wounded in an apparent suicide car bombing in eastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, the alliance force and local officials said. The blast from a parked car struck the International Security Assistance Force soldiers on Wednesday as they were patrolling near the small border town of Barmal, ISAF spokesman General Carlos Branco told AFP. Someone had been sitting in the vehicle but it was not clear if it had been a suicide attack, the general said. He did not give the nationalities of the soldiers. Most troops in eastern Afghanistan are US nationals.

#3: Taliban spokesman Zabihallah Mojahed has said the militants have blasted two US tanks in the southeastern province of Paktia in Afghanistan. He claimed that all the US occupants of the tanks have been killed, Press TV correspondent reported from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, a US-led coalition troops' spokesman confirmed the clash and claimed one US tank has been blasted and two coalition forces wounded.

#4: An Afghan child was killed and three others were wounded when Taliban insurgents attacked NATO bases in eastern Afghanistan, the alliance said in a statement on Thursday.
Insurgents' attacks targeted two NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) bases in Asmar district of eastern Kunar province, close to border with Pakistan, ISAF said in a statement. 'Three separate groups of insurgents launched the attacks on the ISAF bases with heavy machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The attacks lasted approximately 20 minutes,' the statement said.

#5: Police found Thursday the bullet-riddled bodies of three Afghan security guards kidnapped a week ago by insurgents, an officer said, as the Taliban claimed responsibility. The guards had been working for a private Afghan security company that escorts supply convoys on risky routes to bases of the US and NATO forces helping Afghanistan fight the Taliban and other extremists, police said. "They were kidnapped by the armed opposition," Ghazni province deputy police chief Mohammad Zaman said. "We found their bodies today."

#6: Elsewhere in Ghazni, a Taliban fighter was killed and two others wounded in a gunfight with security forces, Zaman said.

#7: A NATO spokesman says a protest in Afghanistan against an American sniper who shot at a copy of the Quran in Iraq turned violent, leaving one alliance soldier and two civilians dead. Maj. Martin O'Donnell says the soldier was hit by gunfire, but that it was not clear who fired the gun. He says the two civilians were killed when police opened fire on protesters. O'Donnell says the protest took place Thursday near an airfield in western Ghor province. It became violent when demonstrators threw rocks and set tents on fire. O'Donnell says one NATO soldier and seven civilians were wounded.

#8: According to the United Nations an average of 60 people every month are killed or wounded by landmines or explosives left over from war in Afghanistan and an estimated 270 square miles are still contaminated with explosive devices

#9: A bomb attached to a bicycle exploded Thursday in southern Afghan city of Kandahar as an Afghan army convoy was passing by, leaving one soldier killed and another soldier wounded, a police officer told Xinhua.

#10: An executive of a Pakistani television channel says gunmen have killed one of its reporters after he interviewed a militant commander near the Afghan border. Fahad Hussain is a senior official at the private Express News TV channel. Hussain said officials told him that several masked men ambushed the reporter on Thursday as he rode a motorcycle near Khar, the main town in the Bajur tribal region. He said reporter Muhammed Ibrahim Khan was returning from an interview with a spokesman for Taliban militants in the area.

Casualty Reports:

Maj. Josef S. Hatch was promoted nine days before he and two other soldiers were injured in a 107 mm rocket attack in early October 2007. He was in a Humvee on their forward operating base when rockets hit the vehicle. Hatch was in the driver's seat. He hit the steering wheel and windshield, losing consciousness.

Capt. Theresa L. Ellison was in a Humvee on their forward operating base when rockets hit the vehicle. Ellison was sitting in the back seat and hit the roof of the vehicle, she said.

Sgt. 1st Class Nathan B. Gray was in a Humvee on their forward operating base when rockets hit the vehicle. Gray was in the passenger seat and was hit with shrapnel.