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, June 18, 2008

War News for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Pvt. Eugene D. M. Kanakaole died in a non-combat related incident in Balad, Iraq on Wednesday, June 11th. No other details were released.

The British MoD is reporting the deaths of four British ISAF soldiers in an explosion east of Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Tuesday, June 17th. One additional soldier was wounded in the attack. Here is the official NATO statement.

NATO is reporting the deaths of two ISAF soldiers while on patrol in Paktika province, Afghanistan on Wednesday, June 18th. No other details were released but we assume these to be American soldiers. Ten additional soldiers were wounded in this incident.

The Courier is reporting the death of David McCullie while working in Iraq. No other details were released and Mr. McCullie’s family have declined to comment on his death. We presume that he worked for a civilian contractor.

June 16 airpower summary:

June 17 airpower summary:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: update The casualty toll from Tuesday's attack in the Shiite Al-Hurriyah neighbourhood of north Baghdad meanwhile rose to 63 dead and more than 70 wounded. Those dead in the bombing included five women and four children, Iraqi officials said, adding the wounded included 11 women and more than 10 children.

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

#1: According to news sources, a set of rockets targeted the US base in Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad on Tuesday. The sources said that nine missiles hit the base in the city, located in Al-Qadisiyah province. There was no immediate word on casualties or damages.

#1: A policeman was killed and two more were wounded on Wednesday in a roadside bomb explosion in southwestern Kirkuk, said a police source. "A roadside bomb went off targeting a police vehicle patrol near a fuel station in al-Waseti neighborhood in southwestern Kirkuk, killing a policeman and injuring two others," the source, who asked for anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

#1: At least eight civilians were wounded on Wednesday in a booby-trapped car blast in eastern Mosul, a security source said. "A car crammed with explosives, parked on the main road in al-Karama neighborhood in eastern Mosul, went off, injuring eight civilians," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq on condition of anonymity.

#1: A Coalition forces helicopter was damaged, today, during a hard landing in Nangarhar province. No service members were seriously injured. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

#2: Helicopter gunships and troops with small and heavy arms blasted a valley in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday as local and NATO forces launched a huge offensive against hundreds of Taliban insurgents, many of whom broke out of jail last week. The defence ministry in Kabul said 20 Taliban guerrillas were killed in a NATO air strike and two Afghan army officers also died in the operation, in Arghandab district. The ministry said three Taliban group leaders were killed further south.

After massing troops, Afghan army and NATO-led forces have now started an offensive to flush out the Taliban from the villages, while stepping up security in Kandahar city and imposing a night curfew.

Several NATO helicopter gunships were seen firing at targets in the distance, while the sound of artillery and small arms fire echoed.

#3: On Wednesday, four Afghan police were killed when a remote controlled bomb hit their vehicle in the southeastern province of Khost, a provincial official said. Later, an abortive suicide attack aimed at a NATO convoy in the western province of Farah, killed two Afghan civilians and wounded ten others.

#4: British troops have been flown into Kandahar to hunt down the escaped Taliban and also help regain control of the city. Chinook aircraft carried paratroopers from “3rd Bn”, The Parachute Regiment, low over rooftops into the city's football stadium. They were flown directly from their operation against the Taliban in neighbouring Zabul province. And, immediately, the troopers fanned out into the city to overwhelm the insurgent strongholds that have sprung up since Friday. They quickly put in place vehicle check points and stopped cars to look for suspected bombers or escaped prisoners.

#5: A suicide bomber attacked a convoy of NATO forces in south-western Afghanistan, killing three civilians and wounding more than 10 others, police said. The attack took place in Dil Aram district of Farah province on Wednesday afternoon when a convoy of NATO-led forces was passing by, Abdul Raouf Ahmadi, spokesman for police forces in western region, said. 'The suicide bomber who had explosives around his body attacked the convoy, killing himself and three civilians,' Ahmadi said, adding that 10 other injured civilians were taken to provincial hospitals. He said there were no casualties among the foreign soldiers.

Casualty Reports:

Jacob Brittian, 21, the Marine needs extensive surgery. They were on patrol at the Pakistan border and he is a gunner in a tank and he saw the wire. He yelled wire, and they didn't get stopped in time so it detonated. And he was shot out of the hole he sits in and was thrown some distance along with the rest of the people. The explosion injured his left leg. "It will take reconstructive surgery and rehab and more reconstructive surgery but they are convinced he'll walk normally, so that's the good news," said Brittain.