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, July 24, 2008

War News for Thursday, July 24, 2008

Visa program expanded for Iraqis who worked for US:

July 22 airpower summary:

Report: Taliban using sophisticated media network:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A member of a U.S.-allied Sunni group in Iraq says three of its guards have been killed and another wounded in drive-by shootings in northern Baghdad. The official says gunmen in a speeding car opened fire on two different awakening council checkpoints in the Azamiyah neighborhood on Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

Gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by Awakening Council, a U. S backed militia, in Adhamiyah at 9 a.m. killing two members. The gunmen used silencers on their weapons, said Iraqi Police.

#2: Wednesday Police found two unidentified bodies in Baghdad. The first body was found in Zafaraniyah district while the second body was found in Ur neighborhood.

#3: A bomb wounded a senior leader of the Shi'ite Dawa party at his house in Zaafaraniya district, southeastern Baghdad, police said. Three body guards were also wounded.

#4: One unidentified body was found by Iraqi Police, Thursday. It was found in Nidhal Street, central Baghdad.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A female suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt targeted an Awakening Council Commander in Baquba, Naeem al-Dulaimi at 3 p.m. Thursday. The explosion, which took place in a car dealership while Dulaimi was checking a car killed him, his two security guards and four civilians, injuring at least twenty four others including women and children.

#1: Iraqi police found the bodies of a civilian and a policeman in Yusufiya, 20 km (12 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: "The British base at the Basra International Airport came under Katyusha rockets attack late Wednesday without causing casualties," Captain Chris Ford told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

#2: The Multi-National forces in southern Iraq said on Thursday that their warplanes shelled a site of Katyusha rockets launchers directed against their base at the Basra International Airport. "The British jets shelled the place where the rockets were launched near the airport in al-Meaadan region in northern Basra," he added.

#1: The son of journalist at a popular weekly newspaper in northern Iraq was shot dead by US troops when his car appeared to veer wildly, police said on Thursday. American soldiers shot dead Arkan Ali al-Nuaimi, 19, on Wednesday evening as he approached a checkpoint in his car in the oil city of Kirkuk, a police official told AFP. He said the son of Ali Taha al-Nuaimi, editor of the US financed "The Voice of the Villages," was raked with American bullets when he lost control of his vehicle.

#2: The U.S. military killed a teenager sitting in a car in central Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraqi police said. The U.S. military said their convoy came under armed attack from a sedan and their soldiers returned fire, killing a passenger. One U.S. soldier was wounded during the attack, the U.S. military said.

#1: Iraqi police found the bodies of two civilians and a policeman in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles), north of Baghdad, police said. The bodies bore gunshot wounds.

#2: A suicide car bomber targeted a checkpoint manned by Iraqi Army in al-Intisar neighbourhood, eastern Mosul killing two soldiers, injuring two others.

#1: Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish rebel hideouts in northern Iraq overnight in the latest air raid in the region since mid-December, the military said Thursday. The "intensive" strike targeted Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) hideouts in the Zap area along the Turkish frontier, which is known as a major rebel stronghold, it said in a statement posted on its website. The statement said: "All 13 targets were successfully hit," adding that work was under way to determine how many PKK militants were killed.

#1: Three police officers were killed and four others injured Thursday in a roadside bomb blast in the eastern province of Paktia, officials said. A remote-controlled bomb exploded and destroyed the their pick-up truck while the police were on patrol in Syed Karam district, Agha Gul Ahmadzai, the district's chief, said. The wounded, two of them in critical condition, were evacuated to the civil hospital in the provincial capital Gardez city, he added.

A remote-controlled bomb destroyed a police vehicle in the eastern province of Paktia early Thursday, killing four policemen and wounding two others, said deputy provincial police chief Ghulam Dastageer Azad.

#2: Taliban fighters also ambushed a police vehicle on patrol in the southwestern province of Farah overnight, another police official said. "Three police were killed and another three were wounded," said Abdul Raof Ahmadi, police spokesman for western Afghanistan.

#3: An operation was meanwhile under way in the central province of Ghazni to take back a district that Taliban rebels captured three days ago, authorities said. Afghan troops backed by NATO ground and air support launched the offensive on Wednesday in the remote Ajristan district, the alliance and an Afghan official said. "At least 15 Taliban have been killed and several others are wounded since yesterday (Wednesday)," provincial government spokesman Ismail Jahangir said. "Joint operations began -- with a coordinated air strike on insurgents -- inside the village of Ajristan. Several insurgents have been killed and wounded," NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said. Troops had been able to recapture the district headquarters compound but were still fighting for wider control, Jahangir said.

#4: The Danish army says two soldiers were injured, one of them seriously, when a rocket hit their armored vehicle in a battle with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The army says the Danish unit came under attack Wednesday in the southern district of Gereshk.

Casualty Reports:

Cindy Robison, 40, speaks slowly and wears hearing aids in both ears. She said she uses a cane because she has trouble with balance and experiences headaches that can sideline her for days. It's all the result of a brain injury she received when her convoy hit a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2004. "I was around a lot of blasts, and I also had a bad fall out of a vehicle that injured my head and neck," she said. "I'm kind of a magnet, I think."

Royal Irish Ranger Martin Delaney, of Lusk, Co Dublin, was travelling in a British army Land Rover that struck a roadside explosive planted by Taliban insurgents. The 23-year-old suffered shrapnel wounds to his face and legs. "It was mostly fragments of the bomb he was hit with, mostly in the leg,’’ said Mr Delaney.

David Pepper (22) suffered a shrapnel wound to his left arm and an injury to his back, while a third Royal Irish soldier caught up in the blast had to be flown back to a UK military base for treatment.

retired Army Specialist Sergio Trejo was a trained sniper serving in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near him during his second tour of duty. The explosion left the soldier with a broken back and a brain injury.