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, July 30, 2008

War News for Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The British MoD is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from an explosion during an engagement in Nahri Sarrj, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Tuesday, July 29th. Here's the ISAF statement.

The Great Falls Tribune is reporting that the family of Sgt. Jimmy McHale has decided to remove Sgt. McHale from life support today after he was critically wounded in a roadside bombing in Baghdad on Tuesday, July 22nd and has been in a coma at the Walter Reed Medical Center.

July 28 airpower summary:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: In violence Wednesday, a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol in eastern Baghdad, killing at least one Iraqi soldier and wounding seven other people, police said.

An Iraqi soldier was killed and 10 more were wounded in a roadside bomb blast in eastern Baghdad, a police source said on Wednesday.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Nearly 50,000 Iraqi police and soldiers were involved in a U.S.-backed operation against al-Qaida in Iraq in one of its last major strongholds near the capital, a senior provincial official said Wednesday. The house-to-house search operations now focused on the Diyala provincial capital of Baquoba will be extended to rugged areas near the Iranian border, said Ibrahim Bajilan, the head of the regional council. The crackdown will take about two weeks ``and then law will be imposed in all Diyala,'' Bajilan said by telephone, providing new details about the operation that began Tuesday.

The U.S. military was providing intelligence, fire support and logistics as Iraqi forces gradually assumed front-line roles, a factor that contributed to sharp decrease in the number of U.S. troop deaths this year.

#1: A judge and one of his bodyguards were injured on Wednesday by unknown gunmen in northern Mosul, a security source said. "Unidentified gunmen opened fire at the car of Judge Mohamed Khalaf al-Sabiel while leaving his house in al-Sedeeq neighborhood in northern Mosul heading for his work at al-Badaa court in central Mosul, injuring him and one of his bodyguards," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq on condition of anonymity.

#2: Meanwhile, a security source said that unknown gunmen shot and killed a policeman in al-Shefaa neighborhood in western Mosul.

#1: Taliban insurgents killed three policemen and seized their vehicle in an ambush in Logar, south of Kabul, a provincial official said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident.

#2: A number of Taliban fighters were killed in two separate overnight clashes with Afghan forces in Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, a provincial official said. U.S.-led troops also used air strikes in the engagements, but details on casualties were not immediately available, the interior ministry in Kabul said.

#3: A small bomb went off in a residential area in the western outskirts of Kabul on Wednesday, but caused no casualties or damage, the ministry said, adding the target was not clear.

#4: Troops and militants battled Wednesday in a restive northwest Pakistan valley, reportedly killing dozens and undermining the new government's disputed strategy of offering peace deals to pro-Taliban insurgents. The army announced an indefinite, round-the-clock curfew throughout the Swat Valley, a day after militants there abducted at least 25 police and paramilitary troops. Clashes Tuesday also left two troops and two militants dead.

In one incident, security forces clashed with militants in Sar Banda, about 12 miles from Mingora, the valley's main town, said an army spokesman on customary condition of anonymity. The army insists that media identify only its chief spokesman by name. The spokesman said Taliban fighters launched a failed attack on a security post. He said troops repulsed the assailants, who left behind the bodies of at least 20 dead comrades. He said the overall militant toll was 25. Muslim Khan, speaking to The Associated Press by phone, said only five Taliban had been killed and claimed that the rebels had killed more than 30 members of the security forces.

#5: Militants shot and killed an Afghan woman accused of being a U.S spy in Pakistan's North Waziristan region, and dumped her body in a sewer, a witness and intelligence officials said on Wednesday.

Casualty Reports:

Marine Sgt. Darren Dugan, was leading a patrol July 10 in Anbar province when he and his men triggered an explosive device that caused shrapnel wounds in his left leg and right foot. Darren Dugan, 24, had surgery in Germany to remove the metal before his parents met him at a naval hospital in San Diego on July 16. He's still finishing outpatient rehabilitation there before coming home to Arizona.