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 16, 2008

War News for Saturday, August 16, 2008

#1: Iraqi police and hospital officials say a car bombing targeting Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad has killed three people and wounded nine others. The officials say the parked car exploded at about 9 a.m. Saturday near minibuses assembled to pick up pilgrims in the city's mainly Shiite district of Shaab.

A car bomb exploded Saturday as Shiite pilgrims were boarding minibuses in Baghdad, killing at least six people, officials said. The explosives-laden car blew up about 9 a.m. near minibuses assembled to pick up pilgrims in Baghdad's mainly Shiite district of Shaab.

#1: Unknown armed men kidnapped two Iranian businessmen in Afghanistan's western Herat province and police have yet to locate them, police spokesman in western region Abdul Rauf Ahmadi said Saturday. "Riza Azimyan and Hasan Farsi were on their way between Herat and Islam Qala border town on Wednesday afternoon when unknown armed men took them away to unknown location," Ahmadi told Xinhua via telephone. Both the abducted people were businessmen and working for an Iranian road construction company building Torghundi highway in the province, he added.

#2: The convoy of Afghan Education Minister, Mohamad Hanif Atmar, has been hit by a landmine blast outside the capital city, Kabul. One passer-by has reportedly been wounded as a result of the attack. The minister was returning from a mission of distributing books among Afghan nomad children in the outskirts of Kabul, a ministry spokesman said.

#3: Clashes erupted on Wednesday when several militants attacked a joint Afghan and coalition patrol with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades, the military said in a statement. "ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) and coalition forces returned fire with small arms and close air support. Multiple vehicles and enemy fighting positions were destroyed," it said. More than three dozen insurgents were killed, it said. No soldiers from the Afghan and U.S. forces or any civilians had been killed in the fighting, which was continuing on Saturday, a spokesman for the military said. The military gave no more details about the location of the battle.

#4: Afghan police killed 23 insurgents on Friday after militants attacked two separate police checkpoints in Nad Ali district of the southern province of Helmand, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday. Four policemen were wounded in one of the attacks, it said.

#5: In another incident, militants attacked U.S.-led coalition forces in Kapisa province to the northeast of the capital, Kabul, on Friday, the military said. "Coalition forces responded with air strikes and small-arms fire, killing the militants," it said, without specifying how many insurgents were killed in that incident.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Laffin is stationed at the Connecticut Army National Guard, 102nd Infantry Battalion, and was in the 10th Mountain Division of the Army. Laffin, 28, suffered multiple injuries when he was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades while on patrol in Afghanistan in November 2006. He suffered shrapnel and nerve damage to his left arm, shrapnel damage to his face and shoulder, and lost hearing in his left ear.

Sgt. Marcus Kuboy was riding in a Humvee that was struck by an explosive device on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq, in March 2007. He walks with a cane and may still need amputation.