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

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

War News for Wednesday, May 14, 2008

#1: An Iraqi Sunni Arab politician escaped unhurt a roadside bomb attack near his convoy in central Baghdad on Wednesday, which killed three of his bodyguards and wounded seven, an Interior Ministry source said. "A roadside bomb detonated before midday near the convoy of Abdul Kareem al-Samarraie, a lawmaker and a key figure in the Iraqi Islamic Party, in Karradat Mariam neighborhood just outside the Green Zone," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#2: Earlier in the day, another attack targeted the headquarters of the Iraqi Islamic Party, headed by Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi,in which a car bomb detonated outside the headquarters in Yarmouk neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 15 others.

#3: Clashes broke out between security forces and Shi'ite gunmen in Baghdad overnight and on Wednesday, police said, killing seven people. At least 28 people were wounded in clashes between U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces and militiamen claiming allegiance to Sadr, police and hospital sources said.

Police said gunmen fought security forces in the cleric's eastern Baghdad bastion of Sadr City overnight in fighting that killed five people and wounded 22 in the crowded slum.

Fighting also broke out in western Baghdad's Shula district, killing two and wounding six, police said. Heavy automatic weapon fire echoed through the streets of Shula, also a stronghold of Sadr's Mehdi Army, on Wednesday. U.S. Apache attack helicopters hovered overhead while shops were closed and residents stayed indoors.

#4: "According to ... soldiers on the ground it was relatively quiet (overnight)," he said, adding the only incident he knew of was a U.S. air strike on three men planting a roadside bomb. The missile killed two of them, he said.

#5: US troops went from house to house on Wednesday in Baghdad's Shiite stronghold looking for bombs and arms ahead of an Iraqi army deployment in line with a new truce, witnesses and officials said.

#6: A civilian and four Iraqi soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi army patrol close to the al-Shaab national stadium in central Baghdad, police said.

#7: Iraqi police say a suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded at least 40 at the funeral of a Sunni grammar school principle just west of Baghdad. The bomber blew himself up inside a funeral tent in the village of Abu Minasir, just west of the capital. Police say that funeral was for Taha Obaid, the principle who was shot and killed one day before in his school. There was no reason known for Wednesday's killing, but many members of so-called Awakening Councils, Sunnis who switched allegiance and are now fighting al-Qaida, were attending the funeral. Col. Faisal al-Zubaie, the director of police in nearby Fallujah, says the original death toll was 18, but some people died later.

#1: Police said they killed four insurgents who were trying to plant a bomb on the road near the city of Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

#1: Iraqi security forces and US troops launched on Wednesday a new offensive against Al-Qaeda in the northern town of Mosul, defence ministry spokesman Major General Abdul Kareem Khalaf told AFP. "Operation Umm al-Rabiain (Mother of Two Springs) has just started against those threatening the civilian population and attacking Iraqi forces in Mosul," Khalaf said. "This operation is targeting terrorists and criminals."

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: A group of al-Qaida fighters recently infiltrated the area, went to the homes of 11 Iraqi police officers and beheaded them and one of their sons. Marine Maj. Gen. John Kelly, the commander of U.S. forces in Anbar province, said it appeared the insurgents crossed from the Syrian border, talked their way through a checkpoint and then went around the town grabbing police individually.

#1: A patrol of Polish soldiers have driven over an improvised explosive device (IED) near the Sharana base, Afghanistan. Nobody was hurt. The incident occurred yesterday some 30 kilometres from the Sharana base in Paktika province, eastern Afghanistan, as soldiers were returning from a reconnaissance. Spokesman for the Polish army in Afghanistan Miroslaw Ochyra told the Polish Radio correspondent that suddenly one of the Humvee vehicles ran onto the device. The vehicle was destroyed in the explosion, but none of the soldiers inside were hurt.

#2: Taliban militants beheaded a soldier in a Pakistani tribal area after accusing him of spying for US forces across the border in Afghanistan, an official said Wednesday. The headless body of Feroze Khan was found lying in an open area outside Naurak village in the restive North Waziristan district, a security official told AFP. "The body had bullet wounds and its severed head was lying nearby," the official said. A note found near the body said the man was a "US spy" and had been punished because he was spying on "mujahedin" (holy warriors) activities in the area, he said.

#3: Separately, authorities found the bullet-riddled body of a security man near Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district, another volatile region bordering Afghanistan. "He was shot by unknown attackers during the night while on patrol duty," Bajaur security officer Muwaz Khan told AFP, adding that "terrorists" were responsible.

#4: An Afghan teacher who preached against suicide bombings was killed by unknown armed men in the northern part of the country, officials said on Wednesday. The school teacher was killed by gunfire in Archi district of the northern province of Kunduz on Tuesday night, according to Juma Khan, the district administrative chief. He said the teacher had recently condemned the wave of suicide bombings in the country and termed them as 'un-Islamic' during a speech at a gathering in the district.

#5: Afghan intelligence agents arrested a foreign would-be suicide bomber and his Afghan associate along with 200 kilograms of explosive packed in a vehicle in northern Afghanistan, a government spokesman said. Hamza, 20 years old, who is from Tajikistan but was born in Pakistan and studied in an Islamic religious school in the Pakistani city of Karachi, was arrested while he was trying to enter Mazar-e-Sharif city, the capital of Balkh province, on Tuesday, Sayed Ansari, spokesman for intelligence service, told reporters on Tuesday night. He said that his Afghan guide had also come from Pakistan and intended to carry out a terrorist attack in the province.

#6: U.S. Marines have faced "continuous resistance" from the Taliban since an operation began two weeks ago to clear out a key militant stronghold in southern Afghanistan, the force said Wednesday. U.S. Marines and British troops under NATO command launched the operation late April in Garmser district in southern Helmand province, a key battleground for the Taliban-led insurgency and an opium-producing center. "We're seeing a continuous resistance," said Lieutenant Colonel Kent W. Hayes, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit's second-in-command in Afghanistan. "They are consistently engaging us," he said, but added that "the bottom line is: When we fight them, we defeat them." Hayes refused to comment on militant casualties from the operation, saying it was not policy to give figures, adding Garmser was a "planning, staging and logistic hub" for the rebels.

#7: A police chief says clashes in southern Afghanistan have killed 13 Taliban militants and two policemen. Helmand provincial police Chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal says six other officers were wounded in the clashes. Andiwal says 10 militants were killed in Helmand's Marja district after they attacked a police checkpoint late Tuesday and killed two officers. Five other officers were wounded in the attack. Andiwal says three militants died in another attack on police in the same region Tuesday that left one police officer wounded.

Casualty Reports:

Marine 1st Lt. David Borden--It has been nearly four months since a suicide bomber detonated an explosive near the 27-year-old Delone Catholic High School graduate in Ramadi, Iraq - a blast that took the life of another Marine and injured three others. Borden was leading a platoon of about 40 Marines through Ramadi when fighting broke out between them and a group of insurgents. When the bomb went off, few parts of Borden's body escaped injury. His right foot was blown off by the blast, and doctors later amputated from the knee down. Both of his forearms were broken, the left one shattered. He suffered a collapsed lung, a ruptured bladder and the loss of hearing in his left ear. About 150 ball bearings struck him all over his body, many of which remain embedded in his skin. He has already undergone 18 operations and still cannot sit up.