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

Friday, July 18, 2008

War News for Friday, July 18, 2008

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Staff Sgt. David W. Textor died from a vehicle incident in Mosul on Tuesday, July 15th. No other details were released.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting the death of a sailor. Daniel R. Verbeke died Monday, July 14th, in Paoli Hospital, Pennsylvania from a non-combat related injury suffered aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in December 2005.

The DoD is reporting another new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Tech. Sgt. Jackie L. Larsen died of natural causes at Balad Air Base on Thursday, July 17th.

July 16 airpower summary:

Flawed electrical work injuring soldiers in Iraq:

Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on U.S. military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents. (snip)

During just one six-month period -- August 2006 through January 2007 -- at least 283 electrical fires destroyed or damaged U.S. military facilities in Iraq--documents obtained by the New York Times show. --many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded another on Thursday in the district of New Baghdad, in the eastern part of the capital, police said.

#2: Three civilians were injured in a roadside bomb attack targeting a U.S. patrol in eastern Baghdad on Friday, an Interior Ministry source said. "A roadside bomb went off around midday near a U.S. patrol while passing in the al-Habibiyah neighborhood, wounding three civilians," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. It was unclear whether the U.S. patrol sustained any casualty as the troops immediately cordoned off the area, preventing the Iraqi police from approaching the scene, he said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A suicide motorbike targeted the residence of the Head of the Popular Committees, a U.S. backed militia, in Diyala Laith Salih. The explosion injured Salih's brother and caused material damages to his home.

#1: "Three civilians were wounded when a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) went of south of Buhrez district, (5 km) south of Baaquba," the source, who declined to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#1: In another incident, the U.S. forces wounded an Iraqi civilian by mistake near the Diala police command headquarters in central Baaquba, the source added.

#1 In the other attack, one man died when a home-made mine targeting a police convoy exploded near the northern oil city of Kirkuk. Four people were wounded in the explosion targeting the vehicles charged with protecting oil installations near the city.

Ninewa Prv:
#1: Gunmen killed one policeman and wounded three others when they attacked their checkpoint on Thursday, near the city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Three Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven others wounded on Friday when a suicide bomber blew up his explosive vehicle near their patrol north of Mosul, an official Iraqi army source said. "A suicide bomber in a pickup truck targeted an Iraqi army patrol on Friday afternoon at the Talkeef intersection, near the Falafeel village, north of Mosul, killing three patrol soldiers and wounding seven others," the source, who asked for anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq. "The powerful explosion also destroyed two military vehicles of the patrol and damaged 10 nearby civilian vehicles," the source said

#1: Helmand provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal says the roadside blast occurred around 6 a.m. Friday in the province's Nava district. Three guards were killed and four wounded.

#2: Zabul deputy provincial police chief Jailani Khan says Taliban militants attacked a convoy carrying supplies for NATO forces Thursday. The 30-minute gunbattle in his region killed an Afghan security worker and wounded five.

#3: Pakistani troops have killed at least ten Islamic militants in an operation to clear Taliban forces from a northwestern region near the Afghan border, the military said on Friday. Authorities launched the offensive in the increasingly troubled district of Hangu on Wednesday after Taliban insurgents occupying the area killed 17 paramilitary troops in an ambush. "Ten militants have been killed and five army troops injured since the launch of the operation," chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP. Abbas said the army had cleared the town of Zargari in Hangu and was now sweeping through surrounding areas. Many militants had fled to the adjoining tribal district of Orakzai, which borders Afghanistan.

#4: in Afghanistan, sad news comes of three more Guam Army National Guard Soldiers who were injured yesterday in a blast caused by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device at a remote outpost.

Casualty Reports:

Staff Sgt. Roy A. Mitchell was injured in November 2003 while on patrol in Afghanistan during his tour with the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team. He suffered severe injuries that included a shattered jaw, stress fractures in his face, a shattered left elbow, shrapnel wounds to his midsection, third-degree burns on his right leg and the amputation of his left leg.

Kevin McCloskey, 21, lost both of his legs and suffered a host of other devastating injuries last month when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, is steadily improving, his family said earlier this week. Besides losing his legs during the June 8 attack, McCloskey also took shrapnel in his right eye, and suffered a broken wrist, a broken collarbone, a shattered pelvis and second-degree burns over most of his body. He underwent more than a dozen surgeries at a Texas military hospital, fought off numerous infections and spent most of his time in a medicated haze as doctors tried to stabilize his broken body.

SGT Dennis Eber, 36, were injured yesterday in a blast caused by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device at a remote outpost. In Afghanistan, they are assigned to the 503rd Military Police Battalion.

PFC Daniel Elliott, 26, were injured yesterday in a blast caused by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device at a remote outpost. In Afghanistan, they are assigned to the 503rd Military Police Battalion.

PFC Jesse Muna, 28, were injured yesterday in a blast caused by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device at a remote outpost. In Afghanistan, they are assigned to the 503rd Military Police Battalion.

Staff Sgt. Jason Letterman of the U.S. Army, lost both legs May 22 when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle, officials said. One soldier died in the blast and Letterman and two others suffered life-threatening injuries.

U.S. Army Cpl. Christopher Levi, 25, is in a U.S. Army intelligence group. "We had to pass through a choke point," Forbes recalled. "The first two trucks went though, and I hit the gas. Anytime you approach a choke point, you kind of say 'don't blow up, don't blow up.' But this time, it blew up." That afternoon in Sadr City, a bomb known as a shaped charge device hidden in the street sent a jet of molten metal hurtling through the armor of the soldiers' Humvee. The force shattered Forbes' left arm and his left hand, and broke his left femur, destroying the muscle of his thigh. Forbes is today a patient at a medical center in Texas.Levi was riding to the right of Forbes. The blast cut through both of his legs at mid-thigh, hurling his limbs to the other side of the Humvee. The blast tore away part of his right palm, taking most of the fifth metacarpal bone with it."Forbes," Levi shouted, "I don't have any legs!"

U.S. Army Sgt. Robert J. Barthel is recovering from his injuries received in Iraq last week at Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Calif. He was injured July 8 when the vehicle in which he was riding was struck by an improvised explosive device while he and his squad were on combat patrol near the joint security site in Nasser Wa Salam, Iraq.The attack injured four others in his squad and killed Spc. William McMillan III, 22, of Lexington, Ky. Barthel, a squad leader, was initially transported to a military hospital in Germany where doctors amputated his right foot. Over the weekend, said his father, he was transported home and eventually was admitted to the medical facility in San Diego.

Josh Caruso, 20, is undergoing treatment in Maryland for severe burns to his arms and legs he suffered while on patrol in Iraq.

Jacob Walker is recovering in Germany after being shot in the hand during an attack that killed nine soldiers in eastern Afghanistan.