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

Monday, June 16, 2008

War News for Monday, June 16, 2008

June 12 airpower summary:

June 13 airpower summary:

June 14 airpower summary:

Detainee abuse routine at U.S. bases in Afghanistan:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A roadside bomb detonated near an Iraqi army patrol outside a Baghdad University college in the Adhamiyah neighborhood, killing a civilian and wounding three soldiers and five people, the source said on condition of anonymity.

#2: About 15 minutes later, another roadside bomb exploded outside the college at a place not far from the first explosion site, wounding four of the college students, the source said.

#3: A mortar shell slammed into a building housing Iraqi soldiers and members of another anti-al-Qaeda Sunni group about noon in the Khadra area in western Baghdad, killing one soldier and one member of the "awakening council," police and army officers said. Eight people were also wounded in the Khadra attack.

#4: An adhesive bomb stuck to a civilian car exploded in Raghiba Khatoon, northern Baghdad at 4 pm seriously injuring the driver.

#5: Two unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad today by Iraqi Police. One in Amin and one in Saidiyah.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A roadside bomb killed three Iraqi fighters battling Al-Qaeda militants near the restive city of Baquba on Monday, a security official said. The three men were killed when their vehicle was struck by the bomb in a village south of Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, one of the most dangerous regions in Iraq. Another militiamen was wounded in the attack.

#1: A police force on Monday fished out the unknown body of a military man from the Tigris river north of Wassit, the chief of al-Suwaiyra town said.“Policemen from al-Suwaiyra, north of Wassit, fished out the body of a man wearing a military uniform from the Tigris river,” Colonel Nijm Ubeid al-Khafaji told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#1: Basra International Airport was temporarily closed on Monday morning in the aftermath of a Katyusha rocket attack that targeted the British base stationed there, a spokesman for the Multi-National Force (MNF) in southern Iraq said. "On Monday, a Katyusha rocket attack targeted an MNF base at Basra International Airport, but caused no casualties or damage among the MNF," the spokesman told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq. "A few rockets fell on the airport, forcing authorities to close its runway for hours," the spokesman explained.Air traffic resumed after the damage had been repaired, according to the spokesman.

#1: A worker from the maintenance authority was wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near Kirkuk city, a local police source said on Monday. "An explosive charge detonated today targeting workers from Kirkuk's maintenance authority while they were carrying out maintenance work on power lines linking al-Rashad district (35km southwest of Kirkuk) to Kirkuk city, seriously wounding one of them," the source, who preferred to remain unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

#1: Gunmen stormed four houses in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, and blew them up on Monday, killing a child and wounding two people, a provincial police source said. The unknown gunmen planted explosives in the four houses before dawn in the Rasheediyah neighborhood in northern Mosul and blew them up, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The four houses belong to two politicians and two security members respectively, the source said, adding that the blasts destroyed the houses and caused damages to several civilian cars.

#2: On Sunday evening a suicide car bomb which struck a police headquarters in the town of Tel-Keif, some 20 km north of Mosul, killing a policeman and wounding six people, a provincial police source said.

#3: Also in the evening, gunmen stormed the office of an Iraqi attorney Adel Hassan al-Waggaa in the northeast of Mosul and shot him dead, the source said.

#4: A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded two other members of the same family, including a child, when it exploded outside their house in northern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#5: Two Mosul University students were killed on Monday afternoon during an attempt to arrest them by security forces, security sources said. "A force from the Ninewa operations command tried to arrest two students inside the Mosul university campus," a police source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq on condition of anonymity. "They were killed during the attempt to arrest them and one security forces was wounded," he added.

#1: U. S.-led coalition and Afghan forces killed more than 15 insurgents during a hunt for inmates who fled prison after a sophisticated Taliban attack that set hundreds free, while Afghan forces recaptured 20 prisoners, officials said Sunday. The U. S. said it couldn't immediately confirm that any of the 15 killed were escaped prisoners. Five militants were also captured during the Saturday operation, it said.

#2: In neighboring Helmand province, meanwhile, the U. S. coalition said "several" militants were killed during an operation targeting a Taliban weapons smuggler in Garmser, where hundreds of U. S. Marines have been operating the last two months. Militants in a compound fired on the coalition forces, who responded with gunfire and air strikes, the coalition statement said. Troops found several weapons and 250 pounds of narcotics during a search after the fight. Garmser is filled with opium poppy fields and is a major narcotics trafficking point.

#3: A 12-year-old, fifth-grade student was on his way to school in the Yaqoubi district of eastern Khost province when he was killed by a roadside bomb blast on Sunday, an interior ministry statement said.

#4: A similar blast struck an Afghan National Army vehicle in the Girishk district of southern Helmand province on the same day, wounding two soldiers, provincial police chief Mohammad Hussain Andiwal told AFP.

#5: Separately, Afghan and US-led coalition troops carried out an operation against Taliban rebels in the Arghandab district of southern Zabul province, killing two militants late Sunday, police said. "Coalition aircraft targeted a Taliban position as part of the same operation which wounded a woman and a child," deputy provincial police chief Faridullah Khan told AFP.

#6: In less than five days after the US-led NATO troops launched aerial strikes on Pakistani soil killing 11 Frontier Corps (FC), two US gunship helicopters violated Pakistan airspace last night, flying low over a four-km area above the Torkham, Pasid Khel and Landi Khana villages for six or seven minutes. The villages fall in the Khyber region. The Landi Kotal area is adjacent to the Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. This was the first intrusion by US-led allied forces’ helicopters into the Khyber Agency. According to locals and Pakistani officials, the two choppers entered into Pakistani airspace from Afghanistan near the Torkham border. An official of an intelligence agency confirmed that US helicopters had violated Pakistani airspace on Sunday, reported the Daily Times.

#7: Hundreds of Taliban fighters took over several villages in southern Afghanistan on Monday just outside the region's largest city, and NATO and Afghan forces were redeploying to meet the threat, officials said. Mohammad Farooq, the government leader in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, said around 500 Taliban fighters moved into his district and took over several villages. "All of Arghandab is made of orchards. The militants can easily hide and easily fight," said Haji Ikramullah Khan. "It's quite close to Kandahar. During the Russian war, the Russians didn't even occupy Arghandab, because when they fought here they suffered big casualties."

Casualty Reports:

Lieutenant-Colonel David Richmond, 41, of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders has been shot and wounded while "leading from the front" in Afghanistan. He was hit in the leg by a Taliban gunman during a firefight near his unit's base at Musa Qala and will now be flown back to the UK for specialist treatment at the military wing of Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital. According to military sources, he was shot "out in the open" during a counter-insurgency operation launched from the battalion's forward outpost "Edinburgh" in northern Helmand province, seven miles north-west of battalion headquarters.

Sergeant Alistair McKinney of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment said the bullet entered his head above his left eye, went through his brain and exited his skull above his right ear. Sgt McKinney, 36, was hit by sniper fire from hills as he patrolled the perimeter fence of his base at Musa Qala, Afghanistan in August 2005. He has no recollection of the shooting. He said: “The bullet smashed my forehead just above the left eye, went through part of my brain then shot out the side of my head above the right ear. A source at the hospital said: “An injury like this would prove fatal 99.9 times out of 100.” He clung to life in hospital and even overcame other complications including an MRSA-like infection, tuberculosis and a large cerebral abscess. Sgt McKinney, who has been left blind in the left side of both eyes, has now left hospital but is receiving treatment at the armed services rehabilitation centre at Headley Court in Surrey. He told The Sun: “I can’t complain because I’ve got no right to be alive really. I’m wheelchair bound at the moment but I’m getting up on my feet more and more. I can slowly feel the paralysis down my left side easing.

Army Specialist Razan Saied a northern Iraqi of Kurdish descent, immigrated to America in 2000 and joined the army as a translator in 2003 leading up to the Iraq War. She shipped out as soon as she finished school and was stationed for less than a year, returning home after suffering traumatic brain injuries and broken bones during an accident where a defective wheel caused her humvee to roll.