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 21, 2008

War News for Wednesday, May 21, 2008

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from an explosion in Ghazni province on Tuesday, May 20th. Two additional soldiers were wounded and a civilian interpreter was killed in the attack. NATO later released an updated statement that one one the wounded soldiers later died in an ISAF hospital.

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Lt. Col. Joseph A. Moore died of natural causes in Djibouti on Tuesday, May 20th. He was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. No other details were released.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Iraqi troops tightened their grip on the Baghdad militia bastion of Sadr City on Wednesday, a day after moving into the Shiite district for the first time in eight weeks, officials said. More Iraqi soldiers were seen deploying in the district and dozens of blasts were heard as they carried out controlled explosions of roadside bombs planted by militiamen during deadly clashes with US troops, residents said.

#2: Hospitals in Sadr City said they admitted no casualties from any violence in the district overnight, in sharp contrast to the past weeks of violence when dozens of dead or wounded were admitted daily.

#3: Another three civilians were wounded when a bomb went off in Baghdad's Palestine street, witnesses told dpa. Nearby stores were also destroyed in the blast.

Four civilians were wounded on Wednesday in a roadside bomb explosion in eastern Baghdad, said a police source."An explosive charge went off in Sahet Beirut in Palestine street region in eastern Baghdad, wounding four civilians," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

#4: At least 11 people were killed Wednesday when gunfire broke out after a roadside bombing in a Shiite militia stronghold in eastern Baghdad near Sadr City, scene of a major military clampdown, Iraqi police said. The violence Wednesday also raises fears that Shiite fighters could stir up trouble in nearby parts of eastern Baghdad. Two Iraqi officials said the shooting occurred about 5:30 a.m. in the Obeidi neighborhood after three roadside bombs targeted joint U.S.-Iraqi troops. But the U.S. military said its forces were not involved in any events in the area. It was not clear who opened fire after the explosions. Eleven bystanders were killed and one person wounded, one of the police officials said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

American soldiers killed 11 suspected Shiite gunmen in clashes Wednesday in a militia stronghold near Baghdad's Sadr City, scene of a major Iraqi army clampdown, the U.S. military said. The U.S. military identified the 11 killed Wednesday in the New Baghdad district as "special group criminals," terminology it uses to refer to rogue Shiite fighters who defy al-Sadr's cease-fire orders. Four heavily armed militants were killed while traveling in a sport utility vehicle, four others were killed because they engaged in suspicious behavior, and three were killed after they were spotted planting two separate roadside bombs, according to a statement. Two Iraqi police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, said earlier that 11 bystanders, including two street sweepers, were killed and one wounded when joint U.S.-Iraqi troops opened fire after a roadside bombing in the area.

#5: A booby-trapped car parked near the Sa'ah Restaurant in Mansour district detonated around 3 p.m. (1200 GMT), killing a civilian and wounding six others, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#6: Also in the afternoon, another car bomb parked at the Kendi thoroughfare in Harthiyah neighborhood detonated and wounded four people, damaging several nearby shops and civilian cars, the source said.

#7: Gunmen assassinated Colonel Abdul Kareem Muhsin, the director of the protection department in the ministry of transportation while he was in his way back home on Mohammed al Qasim high way in east Baghdad around 3:00 p.m.

#8: Three people were killed and two wounded in a mortar attack in southern Baghdad, police said.

#9: Around 6:00 p.m. a parked car bomb exploded in Atifiyah neighborhood in north Baghdad targeting a US military convoy. No casualties reported.

#10: On Wednesday morning, an IED attached to the car of Judge Qasim Ali Motar, the judge in the investigation court in Abo Ghraib while the judge was driving to work in Abo Ghraib district in west Baghdad. Judge Qasim was injured seriously and lost one of the his legs in the explosion.

#11: Police found five unidentified bodies throughout Baghdad (1 body in UR, 1 body Zayuna, 1 body in Doura, 1 body in al Risalah and 1 body Saidiyah)

Diyala Prv:
#1: In other news, Kurdish security sources said four members of the Awakening Council were killed and another three wounded when militants opened fire on their checkpoint in the late hours of Tuesday. The insurgents attacked the checkpoint in Jolaa district, north- eastern Baghdad.

Gunmen attacked a checkpoint in Sheikh Baba district, part of jalawla northeast of Baquba city killing four Kurdish security members known as (Asayish).

#2: The Asayish forces attacked al Shawathib area in the same district and arrested 15 young men. Two hours later, the bodies of two of the 15 young men were found while no information provided about the others.

#3: Iraqi security forces killed four gunmen who attacked their checkpoint near Jalawlah town, about 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad. Three Kurdish troops were wounded, Major Jalil Muhammad Ali said.

#1: Policemen found three unidentified bodies in south of Baaquba city, a security source said on Wednesday. "Police forces, in cooperation with local residents, found three unknown corpses in al-Karama neighborhood in Bahraz district, south of Baaquba," the source, who asked to be unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

Iraqi army found two mass grave yards in al Abbara area south of Baquba city. The first grave included three corpses while the second grave included seven corpses.

#1: Gunmen in a car killed the cleric of a mosque in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Al Anbar Prv:
Anbar Cuty: (?)
#1: Separately, a woman suicide bomber detonated her explosive belt in front of a headquarters of an Awakening Council (the US-backed anti- insurgency militia), killing two police officers and wounding another four, al-Iraqiya television reported. The explosion occurred in the Ratab area of Anbar city, some 100 kilometres west of Baghdad.

#1: Attacks on Khyber trucking threaten US supply line: Thieves, feuding tribesmen and Taliban militants are creating chaos along the main Pakistan-Afghanistan highway, threatening a vital supply line for U.S. and NATO forces. Abductions and arson attacks on the hundreds of cargo trucks plying the switchback road through the Khyber Pass have become commonplace this year. Many of the trucks carry fuel and other material for foreign troops based in Afghanistan. U.S. and NATO officials play down their losses in these arid mountains of northwestern Pakistan - even though the local arms bazaar offers U.S.-made assault rifles and Beretta pistols, and the alliance is negotiating to open routes through other countries.

#2: Afghan troops have killed 14 Taliban militants in southern province of Zabul, a local official said Wednesday. "Afghan troops with the support of air power pounded militants positions in Khak-e-Afghan district Tuesday night killing 14 rebels," Gulab Mangal, deputy to Zabul provincial administration, told Xinhua. He said eight of the bodies left on the ground appeared to be foreign nationals. However, the official did not say if there were any casualties on Afghan forces.

#3: Six Afghan police officers were killed Wednesday and five were wounded in a traffic accident in western Afghanistan, police said. A police ranger vehicle collided head-on with a trailer truck as both were travelling at a high rate of speed on the highway between the Shindand district of the western province of Herat and Herat city, its provincial capital, said Abdul Mutalib Rad, a police spokesman in the region. Rad said the injured police, some in critical condition, were evacuated to a provincial hospital for treatment.

#4: The police official died when insurgents targeted a security check post late Tuesday in Ningolai area of the volatile Swat valley in North-West Frontier Province, according to a statement from the Pakistan Army.

#5: The Islamic militants also set ablaze two girls' schools in Swat, where the Pakistani army has been conducting operations since late October to clear out followers of a radical Muslim cleric, Fazlullah, who wants to impose Taliban-style Islamic rule in the region.

#6: Separately, unknown gunmen on Wednesday morning opened fire at the vehicle of a parliament member, Noorul Haq Qadri, in the tribal district of Khyber Agency that borders Afghanistan. The member of parliament was not in his car but his four relatives died in the attack.