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, June 19, 2008

War News for Thursday, June 19, 2008

#1: An explosive charge went off on Thursday morning near al-Mustansiriya University in eastern Baghdad without leaving casualties, a police source said.

Also in eastern Baghdad, another roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi police patrol in the Palestine Street, damaging several nearby shops and civilian cars, he added.

#2: Wednesday Two dead bodies were found in Baghdad today: one was found in Al-Qanat Street in east Baghdad and one was found in Saidiyah in southwest Baghdad.

#3: An Iraqi civilian was killed and two others injured in a bomb explosion in southwestern Baghdad on Thursday, an Interior Ministry source said. The blast occurred on Thursday afternoon when a bomb planted in a civilian car detonated near the Hamza Intersection in Baya'a neighborhood, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#4: In separate incident, another roadside bomb went off near a U.S. patrol in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Waziriyah, setting a U.S. Humvee on fire, the source added. It was unclear whether U.S. soldiers sustained any casualty as troops immediately cordoned off the area, preventing the Iraqi police from approaching the scene, he said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A member of the of the PUK, Mahmoud al-Dwadi was kidnapped by gunmen yesterday, Wednesday from Jamila, a small village in Jalowla district to the northeast of Baquba, and several hours later his body was found by local police riddled with gunshots.

#1: Iraqi security forces launched a crackdown on Shi'ite militias in the southern city of Amara on Thursday, the latest drive in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's campaign to restore order to Iraq. "The operation started this morning," Major-General Tareq Abdul Wahab, the commander of the offensive, told Reuters. "We have already arrested some wanted men. We can't disclose who, but the operation is moving smoothly."

#1: Five people and a child from the same family were killed on Thursday when their civilian car collided with a U.S. military convoy south of Hilla, a police source said. "A U.S. convoy's vehicle collided with a civilian car in al-Daraat region in Hashemiya district, south of Hilla," the source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. "A man, three women, a child, and the driver were killed in the accident," he also said, noting that the convoy did not stop.

#1: An official in Naft Al Janoub (South Oil Co.) who spoke under condition of anonymity affirmed that Iraq oil exports from Basra port regain their normal level after storms had suspended oil tankers activity for 4 days.Exports were completely stopped since storms hindered about 7 to 8 tankers from anchoring in Basra port at the beginning of the week. However, the official said that the amelioration in weather conditions allowed two tankers to anchor in the port on Tuesday.

Tuz Khurmato:
#1: Iraqi police found a body inside a car in Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. The body carried gunshot wounds and showed signs of torture.

#1: Gunmen shot dead an off-duty policeman in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. The policeman fired back, killing one of his attackers.

#1: Four U.S. military helicopter engines worth a combined $13.2 million are missing in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the American military said Wednesday. The engines were being shipped over land from the main U.S. base at Bagram and were destined for Fort Bragg where the 82nd Airborne Division is based, said U.S. spokeswoman Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green.

Taliban militants in Pakistan's restive tribal belt captured three US military choppers while they were being shipped in a dismantled state from Peshawar to Jalalabad in Afghanistan and sold one of the helicopters for several hundred thousand dollars, a media report said on Wednesday. Pakistani officials confirmed the development while the US embassy spokesperson refused to comment, saying the information "appears to be only hearsay," The News daily reported. The components of the helicopters arrived in containers at the Karachi Port and were taken by road to Peshawar. The containers then entered the tribal areas for the journey to Afghanistan. The incident happened in the same area where Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin was kidnapped in February this year. A Chinook heavy lift chopper and a Black Hawk multi-role helicopter were captured recently while a Cobra gunship helicopter was hijacked some weeks ago.

#2: Canadian and Afghan soldiers are still hunting for Taliban insurgents holed up in the orchards and fruit groves surrounding Kandahar, but the major battle has come to an end, a Canadian military official said Thursday. Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson wouldn't comment on the number of casualties in Wednesday's military operation, but local governor Asadullah Khalid said hundreds of Taliban insurgents were killed and wounded in the fighting. At least two Afghan soldiers died; there was no mention of any Canadian casualties and no word on the number of civilians killed.

Explosions echoed through vineyards and pomegranate groves Wednesday as Afghan and NATO forces backed by helicopter gunships recaptured at least four villages in southern Afghanistan that had been seized by the Taliban, Afghan authorities said. At least three dozen insurgents, including a commander, and two Afghan soldiers were killed in fighting in the Arghandab district northwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said. By day's end, the insurgents were still in control of about half a dozen villages, the provincial government said.

A tribal elder in Arghandab, Haji Ghulam Farooq, said the insurgents, armed with automatic rifles and grenade launchers, were fleeing northward as Afghan and Canadian troops moved in from the south on foot.

#3: Another Afghan civilian was killed and another wounded in an assault by local and NATO forces on Taliban militants near the southern city of Kandahar, the international force said Thursday. International Assistance Security Force spokesman General Carlos Branco confirmed the civilian casualty and said the wounded person was evacuated to the ISAF base at Kandahar air field.

#4: An Australian journalist has been shot and wounded in fighting between coalition forces and insurgents in southern Afghanistan. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would not identify the person, but media reports have named him as 36-year-old Jamie Kidston, a former cameraman for SBS Television. The wounded man was shot in the arm near Kandahar, the scene of a jailbreak last week in which some 400 Taliban militants broke out of the Sarposa prison.