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, June 17, 2008

War News for Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Photo: Arghandab district Kandahar. The Taliban have seized a dozen villages in a key district of Kandahar, using the chaos after a recent jailbreak as cover for a co-ordinated sweep by hundreds of heavily armed fighters.

Click on Photo for a larger view.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Center Soldier in a roadside bombing southeast of Hillah on Monday, June 6th. No other details were released.

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Lance Cpl. Kelly E. C. Watters died during combat operations in Al Anbar Province on Wednesday, June 11th.

June 15 airpower summary:

Report Questions Pentagon Accounts:

A Senate investigation has concluded that top Pentagon officials began assembling lists of harsh interrogation techniques in the summer of 2002 for use on detaineesat Guantanamo Bay and that those officials later cited memos from field commanders to suggest that the proposals originated far down the chain of command, according to congressional sources briefed on the findings.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A suicide bomber on a motorcycle has struck a Baghdad checkpoint manned by US-allied fighters, killing one and wounding four. The attacker detonated his explosives in the Sunni area of Silaikh in northern Baghdad, according to police and hospital officials.

In a fresh attack on members of tribal police known as Awakening Councils, a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle targeted a checkpoint manned by council members in Saba Abkar, north of Baghdad, police told VOI. Four council members were killed and two civilians were injured in the bombing.

#2: A roadside bomb targeted a police commando patrol, wounding three policemen and one civilian in Ghadir district of eastern Baghdad, police said.

Three policemen were injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near their patrol vehicle in southeastern Baghdad, security forces said on Tuesday."An explosive charge planted by unknown men on the main road in al-Ghadeer neighborhood, southeastern Baghdad, detonated near a police patrol vehicle, wounding three patrolmen," an Iraqi police source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

#3: A car bomb struck a busy market in a mainly Shiite area in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, officials said, the deadliest such attack in three months. The attack occurred just before 6 pm. As the market in the northwestern Hurriyah neighborhood was packed with shoppers preparing for their evening meals.

Iraqi police officials say at least 51 people were killed in a car bombing in a mainly Shiite section of Baghdad. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, say 75 people were wounded in Tuesday's attack in the northern neighborhood of Hurriyah. Witnesses say the car that exploded was parked near a two-story building with shops on the bottom floor and residential apartments on top.

#4: A civil servant was killed and another wounded when the car they were travelling in was attacked by armed men in the west Baghdad district of Mansour, police said.

Around 5 p.m. gunmen attacked two employees of the prime minister's office in Al Nisour square killing one and injuring one in their car.

#5: Police found three dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Palestine Street, one in Haifa Street and one in Atifiyah.

#6: Around 4 p.m. A roadside bomb targeted civilians in Zafaraniyah neighborhood injuring one civilian.

Diyala Prv:
#1: One person was killed and 21 others were wounded on Tuesday in a car bomb explosion that ripped through central Baaquba city, a local security source said. "A car rigged with explosives detonated inside a garage opposite to the police command headquarters in downtown Baaquba city, killing one person and wounding 21 others, including 11 police personnel," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

#2: Three brothers were kidnapped at a fake checkpoint in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, police said.

Today, unidentified gunmen shot down Ali Haydar al-Azzawi, the brother of Diala's public commissioner for civil society organizations, in al-Adheem district, after they had kidnapped," the source, who preferred to remain unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

#1: Chief of al-Aziziya district and one of his companions were killed on Tuesday and ten others were wounded in a bomb explosion targeting his motorcade north of Kut, a police source said. “An explosive charge went off targeting the motorcade of Colonel Saleh Mahdi, chief of al-Aziziya police department, killing him and his companion Lieutenant Mohammed Wali Mryoush and wounding ten more of his companions in al-Aziziya district, north of Kut,” the source, who asked to remain unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

A roadside bomb killed a police colonel and his two guards and wounded four other policemen as they pursued gunmen in a car chase just outside the town of Kut, 150 km (95 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Around 12:30 p.m. gunmen attacked two vehicles, a mini-bus and a truck, in the town of Aziziyah. They kidnapped 6 men from the vehicles and then set the vehicles on fire. Police headed to the scene and a roadside bomb detonated in the area of the kidnapping killing police Colonel Ali Mohammed and injuring 6 other policemen.

#1: A police volunteer was killed and another was wounded by police fire in Salah al-Din's Samarra city, a source from the joint coordination center said on Tuesday. "This morning, forces from the Interior Ministry opened fire on a group of new volunteers seeking to join local police forces in Samarra at the headquarters of the mayor's office and Samarra operations center, in an attempt to organize the volunteers," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq

Tuz Khurmato:
#1: A municipal worker was killed in a drive-by shooting in Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: US troops killed the four suspected members of al-Qaeda hiding in a building in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, after the suspects refused to surrender, a US military statement said. Four other suspects on the scene were detained, one of them for 'his alleged role in manufacturing and distributing bombing components,' according to the statement.

A police official told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency that US troops killed four people from the same family and arrested four in a dawn raid on their home in al-Mahata area, in south Mosul. The victims include the father and his three sons, the unnamed official said. It is not clear whether the incident was related to the raid cited in the US military statement, in which four people were killed and four captured.

#2: Also in Mosul, gunmen killed a television presenter Mohialdin al-Naqib as he was leaving his home north of the city to go to work, police officials told VOI. Al-Naqib, 50, worked with Nineveh's television and radio station, which is part of the state-owned Iraqi Media network.

#3: Unidentified gunmen on Tuesday afternoon killed a policeman near his house in central Mosul, a security source said. "Unknown armed men shot and killed a policeman near his house in Bab al-Toub region in central Mosul," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

#4: Gunmen broke into a house and shot dead a woman, in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: The Turkish military said on Tuesday it had opened fire on 21 Kurdish PKK fighters trying to enter Turkey from northern Iraq. The General Staff, in a statement on its internet site, said its forces opened fire on the guerrillas late on Monday 3 km (2 miles) inside northern Iraq and most of them had been "neutralised".

#1: Taliban militants blew up bridges and thousands of residents fled villages near Kandahar Tuesday ahead of a possible offensive by Afghan and NATO troops, officials and locals said. A Taliban commander said hundreds of fighters had massed in the villages in Arghandab district since late Monday, many of them having escaped from the southern city's main jail at the weekend in a brazen insurgent attack. The Taliban had blown up one bridge "so far" in the district, he said, adding that hundreds of Afghan soldiers had been deployed in Arghandab "to clear the insurgents from the area." An Afghan army general, Aminullah Patyali, said the rebels had reportedly destroyed several bridges and laid many landmines. One of the mines exploded, killing two Taliban, he said.

Taliban fighters stormed onto the doorstep of Afghanistan's second-largest city yesterday, seizing villages, bombing small bridges, and scattering landmines to keep Canadian and international troops at bay. The head of the Kandahar provincial council and brother of President Hamid Karzai said the rebels claimed control of numerous villages and were rumoured to be planning attacks on a bigger target: Kandahar city. "There are also strong rumours that they will attack Kandahar city at strategic points -- my house, the government's house, the police station."

By Tuesday, a tribal elder from the area reported, Taliban fighters had taken control of 18 villages, dug trenches and laid mines. Mr. Laity said NATO aircraft dropped leaflets urging residents of the area to remain indoors. He denied reports that the leaflets urged people to flee. In any event, the tribal elder said, Taliban forces were preventing people from leaving after an early exodus of villagers fleeing in fear of hostilities. Earlier reports from families in the area said they had been told by the Taliban to leave, an indication the Taliban intended to make a stand and fight. A government spokesman, Parwez Najib, confirmed the news that Taliban fighters had infiltrated parts of Arghandab. “There is not fighting yet,” he said. Afghan and foreign forces are aware of the presence of the Taliban, he added.

#2: Four people have been killed in a gun attack in north-western Pakistan, officials say.
Officials say the gunmen opened fire at the four Shia Muslim men in the main market in the town of Hangu. The identity of the killers and the motive of the killing remains unclear, according to the police. A senior official in Hangu in North West Frontier Province told Reuters news agency that Tuesday morning's attack "appeared" to be sectarian. "The men were from the same family and they were killed on the spot," Quresh Khan said.

#3: A Polish patrol was fired at on the road from Ghazni to the Airborne military base, central Afghanistan, Monday night. None of the Polish troops involved in the incident were hurt, reports the Radio Information Agency (IAR). Two Polish armoured vehicles were fired at from machine guns and grenades were thrown at them. The machines were damaged as a result, but could safely return to the Airborne base.

#4: Afghan forces backed by air power support of foreign troops have killed 30 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan's eastern Khost province, a local official said Tuesday.