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

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

War News for Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier in an explosion in the Musa Qaleh area of Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Monday, May 19th. No other casualties were reported. Here's NATO's official statement.

NATO is reporting a second death of an ISAF soldier from hostile enemy action in southern Afghanistan on Monday, May 19th. No other details were released. The Sun Herald is reporting that a U.S. Marine, Cpl. Justin Cooper was killed this past weekend in combat in Afghanistan. This appears to be the second ISAF death.

WMAZ is reporting the death of Sgt. First Class Davy Weaver in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on Sunday, May 18th. No other details were released.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Thousands of Iraqi troops moved into Baghdad's Sadr City district Tuesday in a major operation aimed at bringing government control over the Shiite militia stronghold, the Iraqi miltary said. The large Iraqi force backed by tanks entered the sprawling district before dawn, with troops taking up positions on street corners and deploying on rooftops as Iraqi Humvees patrolled the streets, residents said. Al-Moussawi said three brigades with about 10,000 troops were involved in the deployment. He and the U.S. military said American troops were participating, though al-Moussawi said U.S. forces were nearby in case their support was needed.

Iraqi soldiers, who previously controlled only the outer perimeter of Sadr City, met no opposition during their advance into the suburb, home to 2 million people.

#3: Around 9:00 p.m. (Monday) an IED exploded targeting the vehicle of Major Ahmed, the chief police of al Quds police station in Shaab neighborhood north Baghdad. Major Ahmed got injured with three of his guards.

#4: Two civilians were injured in a bomb explosion in Ghadeer neighborhood in east Baghdad around 9:00 p.m (Monday).

#5: Around 8:00 p.m. (Monday) gunmen opened fire targeting a vehicle carrying three policemen in Qadisyah neighborhood west Baghdad. The policemen were injured and taken to the hospital.

#6: (Monday) Gunmen attacked an officer in the ministry of interior affairs in Zafaraniyah neighborhood in southeast Baghdad. The officer was injured in the attack.

#7: A roadside bomb inside a minibus killed one person and wounded four others in Rustumiya district, in southeastern Baghdad, police said.

A bomb also exploded inside a minibus in Baghdad, killing two passengers and wounding five others.

#8: A roadside bomb wounded two people in Zayouna district, in eastern Baghdad, police said.

#9: A roadside bomb targeted a US military convoy in al-Qanat Street, near the Talbiyah traffic fly over bridge at 7.45 am Tuesday. One hummer vehicle was damaged.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up at about 7 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) at a house in the al-Bakir neighborhood in the town of Mandili, near the Iranian border, a source from the town's police station told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The suicide bomber targeted Sheikh Talib al-Nadawi, the chieftain of Nadawi Sunni tribe and head of the local U.S.-backed Awakening Council group, the source said. Nadawi who was at the house as a guest escaped unhurt, but a female child was killed and two people were wounded, he said.

A girl child was killed and nine civilians wounded when a suicide bomber blew up his explosive belt northeast of Baaquba on Tuesday, police said.

A woman suicide bomber attacked the house of Sheikh Mutlib al-Nidawi, the head of the U.S.-backed neighbourhood police of Mandili, killing his niece and wounding him as well as two of his guards, police said. Mandili is 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Baghdad.

Balad Ruz:
#1: In separate incident, a mortar round landed on a house in the town of Baladruz, some 70 km northeast of Baghdad, killing two family members and wounding eight others, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

#1: U.S. forces killed a senior al Qaeda leader in Samarra, north of Baghdad, and detained 20 others in different areas in Iraq on Monday and Tuesday, the U.S. military said

#1: Four Sahwa- Awakening- fighters were killed on Tuesday in an armed attack near Dolouiya district, 90 km north of Baghdad, a local police source said. “Unknown gunmen attacked and killed Qassem Balil al-Dulaimi, a local Sahwa leader, along with three escorts in Bishkan village near Dolouiya,” the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq. The source added “The victims were ambushed on a rural road while the attackers fled to unknown place.”

Sulaimaniyah Prv:
#1: 3 people were injured in Sulaimaniyah city during a fight that was related to a vengeance killing, in Hachi Awa neighbourhood at 8 pm Monday. One of the gunmen is a captain in the armed forces and has been handed over to the military authorities for disciplining.

#2: 1 woman was injured in the continued Iranian bombardment of border villages. Halima Ibraheem was injured by flying shrapnel Monday evening and was taken to hospital for treatment. 5 border villages were targeted Tuesday from 11 am until noon.

#1: Late Monday, gunmen suspected of being al-Qaida fighters ambushed a minibus carrying Iraqi police recruits near the Syrian border west of Mosul, killing all 11 passengers, Iraqi officials said—the first deadly attack since the Mosul sweep began. The attack, one of the bloodiest in months against police, left the minibus riddled with bullets in the desert west of Mosul near the town of Baaj, 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the Syrian border, according to a provincial official in Baaj and a Mosul police officer. Some al-Qaida fighters are believed to have fled the city toward neighboring Syria.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: A suicide bomber killed himself and three members of his family including his wife and sister and wounded two others when the police surrounded his house in western Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A provincial governor says a roadside blast has killed five nomads and dozens of sheep in southwestern Afghanistan. The Nimroz province Gov. Ghulam Dastagir says the nomads were transporting sheep on a truck when their vehicle hit the freshly planted bomb late on Monday.

#2: Five people were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near an army vehicle in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, the third blast to hit the country in three days, police said. The incident occurred in the northwestern garrison town of Kohat, a major base for Pakistani troops involved in military operations against Taliban militants in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan."Three soldiers and two civilians were injured in the bomb blast, according to initial reports," police official Shakir Khan said.

#3: The decapitated body of the policeman was found in the southwestern province of Farah on Monday, a day after he had been captured by Taliban fighters, the police spokesman for the region told AFP. He was caught while travelling home for a holiday, said spokesman Abdul Mutalib Rad, blaming Taliban extremists.

#4: In a separate incident, militants fired mortars at an aid agency's water tanker in eastern Afghanistan, an Afghan army spokesman said. "Then they came and killed the driver and stole his tanker," said Mohammad Gul, blaming the "opposition".

#5: In southwestern Nimroz province meanwhile, a mine blew up a truck transporting sheep and killed five men and several of the animals, provincial governor Ghulam Dastgir Azad said.
It was not clear if the device was newly planted or left over from other conflicts in Afghanistan.

#6: And in Wardak, near Kabul, a mine apparently intended for police exploded under a civilian car and killed two people, deputy provincial police chief Mohammad Asif said.

#7: In southern Logar province, Shah Mohammad, security chief of the province's Charkh district, was killed by unknown gunmen Tuesday morning, said Gholum Mustafa, provincial police chief.

#8: The Afghan government will decide when foreign troops will leave the country, the foreign minister said on Tuesday, but added they would be needed until Afghan security forces could stand on their own feet.

On the home front:

A Marine home on leave and scheduled to return to Iraq on June 2 died in a motorcycle crash while visiting relatives. Lance Cpl. Noah Alexander Cole, 25, of Martin, was spending his 30-day leave in West Michigan visiting family and friends. The young man's body was found on the road by a passing motorist just after sunrise Monday, following an apparent overnight crash with his 1997 Yamaha on U.S. 131 near 140th Avenue, near Dorr Township in Allegan County, state police said.

Robert Crutchfield survived 14 months of gunfire in Iraq. But the 21-year-old lance corporal returned home for Christmas and was shot in the neck by two robbers on Jan. 5 at a bus stop at East 72nd Street and Superior Avenue. Crutchfield died Sunday night from his injuries.

When Pfc. Alberto Martinez returned from heavy combat in Iraq in 2003, he reported tightness in his chest, memory loss and sleeplessness. He would not go to bed without his gun. He repeatedly checked his windows and doors to make sure they were locked. The soldier in the Army's 3rd Infantry Division had classic symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, according to court records. But he did not get help for it. soldiers who had fought side by side during some of the most violent battles in Iraq, went out for a night of hard drinking in Columbus. They first hit Hooters, then drove to the Platinum Club, a strip club. By the end of the night, one soldier, Spc. Richard R. Davis, 24, was a tattered corpse, stabbed more than 30 times by Martinez. The Georgia Supreme Court today will hear the appeal of Martinez, 27, convicted in 2006 of Davis' murder and serving life in prison.

Casualty Reports:

Senior Aircraftman Jon Butterworth (brit) lost his left arm below the elbow during the attack at Basra airfield last August. The 22-year-old, who is based at RAF Cottesmore, had been driving his Land Rover to work with a colleague when the attack happened.The father-of-one said: "Four rockets were fired and they started landing all around me. "They were landing within about 50m of me, and then the third one was only about 10m away. "My body had lifted off the ground and shrapnel from the rocket went through my left elbow."

Spc. Will Grumet was injured in Aug. 21, 2007 by an Improvised Explosive Device while driving a Bradley fighting vehicle on a mission in Mosul, Iraq. "We did route clearance," said Grumet. "Basically, it was our job to drive down the streets before the units who did any kind of raid or mission in the city." combat engineers like Grumet would do a route clearance mission in the morning and go out at night to repair IED craters on the road so they could not be used by insurgents to hide other IEDs. he heard the explosion and felt the Bradley lift up underneath him. "(The vehicle) moved over about five feet and came down. I could see a big flash of light and could see fire through the periscope." Grumet was evacuated to the field hospital at Ballad Air Base with burns and shrapnel wounds on his face and a concussion. His two fellow crewmen were also injured, but were not killed.

U.S. Army Captain Ferris Butler lost his left leg and most of his right foot when an improvised explosive device ripped through his Humvee while on patrol in Iraq. For 15 months, a glum Butler was confined to a wheelchair while doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., worked to get him walking again.

Private Carl Clowes, 21, (brit) who serves with the Royal Logistic Corps, was on his first tour of the war-torn country when an armoured Land Rover was blown up in the notoriously dangerous Helmand Province. Surgeons have had to amputate the lower left leg of a Bradford soldier who suffered horrific injuries in a land mine blast in Afghanistan. One of his colleagues in the vehicle suffered a broken arm, while the other escaped unhurt. After emergency treatment at base camp, Pte Clowes had to be airlifted to the UK for treatment to shattered bones in his lower body, cheek and jaw. He spent 14 weeks in the military-managed ward of Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham with his jaw wired and a tube in his throat to help him breathe, before being transferred to Headley Court - the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, near Epsom, Surrey.
Within a month, he was able to walk with the aid of crutches but as his right side healed during ten months of gruelling treatment, he was told he was going to lose his left leg below the knee.