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

Saturday, August 9, 2008

War News for Saturday, August 09, 2008

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by the military. Master Sgt. Danny E. Maybin died in a non-combat related incident in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, on Thursday, August 7th. He was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. No other details were released.

The Pacific Daily News is reporting what appears to be a new death. Anthony "Tony" Carbullido died in an IED attack in Afghanistan on some undisclosed date. No other details are available.

Aug. 7 airpower summary:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: U.S. forces killed two militants and detained 14 suspects while targeting al Qaeda networks in central and northern parts of Iraq on Friday and Saturday, the U.S. military said.

#2: Around 8 a.m. a roadside bomb targeted a police vehicle in Bab Al Muatham area injuring four policemen.

#3: Around 3 p.m. a bomb exploded inside an apartment in Zayuna neighborhood injuring two people.

#4: Around 7:30 p.m. gunmen attacked Satar Amir, the director of Al Qadisiya pool in Baghdad, as he was driving his car with his two sons in Zayuna neighborhood, one of his sons was killed and Satar and his other son were injured.

Gunmen attacked the manager of the Qadisiya Olympic swimming pool, Sattar Ammer, and his two sons, while they were driving near the Zayouna district of eastern Baghdad, killing one of his sons, police said. He and his other son were wounded in the attack.

#5: Police found three dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Shaab, one in Habibiyah, one in Saidiyah.

Diyala Prv:
#1: One police officer was killed as he was entering a booby trapped house with explosives in Buhruz area.

#2: A roadside bomb targeted a police vehicle in Buhruz injuring two policemen.

Seven Iraqi soldiers sustained different wounds when an improvised explosive device went off near their patrol southern Baaquba district, a security source in Diala province said on Saturday. "The Iraqi soldiers' vehicle was the target of an IED attack south of Buhrez district, (5 km) southern Baaquba. Seven of them were injured in the blast," the source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#3: Police found one dead body near Jalawla area in Diyala.

#4: Iraqi security forces killed four wanted people, and arrested 30 others in operations that have been conducted throughout Diala, according to Operation Bashaer al-Kheir (Promise of Good) conducted in the province, said the Iraqi Ministry of Defense's (MOD) official spokesperson. Security forces today conducted operations in two areas, southern al-Khlaiss and Bohroz," Staff General Mohammed al-Askari told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq .

Jurf al sakhar:
#1: Militants killed a member of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol and wounded two others when they attacked their checkpoint on Friday in Jurf al-Sakhar, about 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Iraqi soldiers killed three people, including a woman, and wounded two others on Friday when they fired at a car speeding towards their checkpoint in Shirqat, 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Tuz Khurmato:
#1: Gunmen shot dead a man on Friday outside his house in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

One of the Iraqi youth and sports minister's guards was gunned down in Touz Khormato district, an official police source said on Saturday. "At a late hour on Friday night, unknown gunmen opened fire on a bodyguard of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Jassem Mohammed Jaafar, in front of his house in Imam Ahmed neighborhood, Touz Khormato district (85 km southwest of Kirkuk), killing him on the spot," the source, who preferred to remain unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq.

#1: Also in northern Iraq, unidentified gunmen shot dead a 50-year-old woman outside her home in the al-Maamoun district in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.

Tal Afar:
#1: update The death toll from a blast in a market in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar rose to 25 on Saturday, after four of the six dozen people injured died from their wounds, a security official said.

#1: Afghan soldiers backed by international air support killed around 20 Taliban insurgents and wounded 14 more in western Farah province on Friday, the provincial police chief said on Saturday. "The Taliban were gathering for a meeting in an area of Bala Boluk district," the provincial police chief, Khalilullah Rahmani, told Reuters. "An air strike targeted the meeting and killed 20 of them," he said. Fourteen others were wounded.

#2: At least six Pakistani troops were killed and 15 others injured in a clash with militants in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan, the paramilitary Frontier Corps said Saturday. The incident took place on Friday, eight kilometres (five miles) southwest of Khar, the main centre in the semi-autonomous Bajaur tribal district, a known hideout for Taliban and Al-Qaeda rebels. "Miscreants attacked a security forces convoy on Friday at Delai area while it was moving to Khar," the Frontier Corps said in a statement, referring to militants. It said an exchange of gunfire between troops and militants continued until early on Saturday morning. "Miscreants also suffered heavy losses in the exchange of fire," the statement said without disclosing the number of casualties.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that some 1,500 people have been killed, with the death toll rising Saturday. The figure could not be independently confirmed, but witnesses who fled the fighting said hundreds of civilians had probably died. They said most of the provincial capital, Tskhinvali, was in ruins, with bodies lying everywhere.

Russian Gen. Vladimir Boldyrev claimed in televised comments Saturday that Russian troops had driven Georgian forces out of the provincial capital. Witnesses confirmed that there was no sign of Georgian soldiers in the streets.

Russian military aircraft also bombed the Georgian town of Gori on Saturday. An Associated Press reporter who visited Gori shortly afterward saw several apartment buildings in ruins, some still on fire, and scores of dead bodies and bloodied civilians. The elderly, women and children were among the victims.

Overnight, Russian warplanes bombed the Vaziani military base on the outskirts of the Georgian capital and near the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. He also said two other military bases were hit, and that warplanes bombed the Black Sea port city of Poti, which has a sizable oil shipment facility.

Maia Kardava, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross delegation in Tbilisi, said Russian forces bombarded military and civilian targets the port town of Poti, on Georgia's Black Sea coast. Georgian officials said eight Georgians were killed in the port town.

Russian warplanes bombed and virtually destroyed a key Georgian port

In the town of Senaki, just inland from Poti, Russian forces damaged a railway line, a military base, and a center housing civilians who fled from nearby Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian region.

Georgia, meanwhile, said it has shot down 10 Russian planes, including four brought down Saturday, according to Kakha Lomaya, head of Georgia's Security Council. The first Russian confirmation that its planes had been shot down came Saturday from Russian Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the General Staff, who said two Russian planes were downed. He did not say where or when.

Georgia claims to have shot down ten aircraft and captured a Russian pilot.

Russian military commanders said 15 peacekeepers have been killed and about 150 wounded. Russian troops went in as peacekeepers but Georgia alleges they now back the separatists.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that some 1,500 people have been killed, with the death toll rising Saturday.

Georgia has only confirmed 30 dead amongst its forces while Russia says three more troops were killed Saturday taking its toll to 15.

Separatist-backed South Ossetian sources reported about 1,600 people have died and 90 have been wounded in the capital of Tskhinvali after two days of fighting, but Georgian officials said the figure was inflated. The Georgians said they didn't have their own death toll, but it would likely be closer to 100.

A Red Cross official in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi was unable to provide refugee or casualty figures Saturday morning because she said aid workers were still gathering information and visiting hospitals in South Ossetia and western Georgia, where she said two towns suffered damage overnight.

Georgia declared a state of war Saturday as fierce battles with Russia military over the breakaway region of South Ossetia entered their second day.

Russian paratroopers entered the capital of South Ossetia on Saturday as part of a military operation that Russia said was intended to force the Georgian side to cease fire.

Georgia and the administration in South Ossetia traded claims of control over Tskhinvali since early Friday but Russia said Saturday it had "liberated" the breakaway capital after airlifting paratroopers into the city.

Russian state media reported some 100 military flights were planned to transfer more units to the city.

Separatist forces in Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia launched air and artillery strikes to drive Georgian troops from their bridgehead in the region, officials said. The Abkhazian move was prompted by Georgia's military action to regain control over another breakaway province, South Ossetia, which began Friday, said Sergei Shamba, foreign minister in Abkhazia's separatist government. He said that Abkhazia had to act because it has a friendship treaty with South Ossetia. Shamba said Abkhazian forces intended to push Georgian forces out of the Kodori Gorge. The northern part of the gorge is the only area of Abkhazia that has remained under Georgian government control. Georgia's Security Council secretary Alexander Lomaia said that Georgian administrative buildings in the Kodori Gorge were bombed, but he blamed the attack on Russia.

Inna Gagloyeva, spokeswoman for the South Ossetian Information and Press Committee, told Russia's Interfax news agency that Tskhinvali was being "massively shelled" with artillery guns. It was unclear which side was in control of that city on Saturday. The Georgians said fighting raged, but the Russians said they had "liberated" the city.

Military bases at Vaziani and Marneuli also came under attack, the British Foreign Office said, and Russian aircraft bombed the Georgian town of Gori, about 35 miles northwest of Tbilisi, Georgian officials said.

Georgian officials said Russia has mobilized its Black Sea fleet off the coast of Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian province.

"Georgia is facing Russia's military aggression," Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said, noting that Russian forces were attacking areas outside South Ossetia. "Georgian authorities support a cease-fire and separation of the warring parties."