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

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

War News for Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Canadian DND is reporting the death of a Canadian ISAF soldier from small arms and RPG fire in the Panjwayi District, Kandahar province, Afghanistan on Monday, August 11th. One additional soldier was wounded in the attack. Here's the NATO statement.

NATO is reporting the death of a Latvian ISAF soldier in an IED attack in Faryab province, Afghanistan on Monday, August 11th. Three other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier in a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, August 11th. Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack. Here's the NATO statement.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Marine when attacked from small-arms fire southwest of Tikrit on Sunday, August 10th. Two other Marines were injured in the attack.

Aug. 10 airpower summary:

BP shutters Georgian pipeline:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: The bodies of two people were found with gunshot wounds in different areas of Baghdad on Monday, police said.

#2: Iraqi security forces arrested 22 people and one man was killed during security operations launched in different areas of Baghdad in the past 24 hours, Baghdad's operations command said on Tuesday. an Iraqi security soldier was killed and three were injured during the operations.

#3: A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol near Khullani Square, central Baghdad at 3 p.m. Tuesday injuring three people including one policeman.

#4: An IED was detonated under control in Karrada, central Baghdad at 3.20 p.m.

#5: A car bomb was detonated under control near Wathiq Square, Karrada at 3.30 p.m.

#6: Two Katyusha rockets were detonated under control by U.S. forces in Zafaraniyah, southeastern Baghdad, Tuesday.

#7: Police found one dead body throughout Baghdad in Khilani area.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Ra'ad al-Mulla Jawad, governor of Iraq's Diyala province on Tuesday escaped unhurt a suicide vest bombing in the provincial capital Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, a local police source said. The incident occurred shortly before midday when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest struck the convoy of Jawad in central Baquba, damaging two vehicles of his convoy and a nearby civilian car, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Three civilians were killed and three others wounded by the powerful blast, the source said, adding the Iraqi security forces immediately cordoned off the scene, allowing ambulances to evacuate the casualties.

The U.S. military says two Iraqis have been killed and at least six others wounded when a female suicide bomber struck a convoy carrying senior Iraqi officials in Baqouba. The U.S. military in northern Iraq says the woman was targeting a convoy carrying the Iraqi commander of ground forces in the surrounding Diyala province on Tuesday. It says she detonated her explosives relatively far from Gen. Ali Ghaidan because Iraqi soldiers guarding the convoy noticed she was acting suspiciously. Provincial council chief Ibrahim Majilan says the convoy was also carrying the Diyala province governor.

#1: Gunmen killed one woman and wounded another in a drive-by shooting near a market in Mahaweel, 60 km (35 miles) south of Baghdad, on Monday, police said.

#1: "Three mortar shells were fired on the area of al-Daydan, central Mosul, wounding one civilian man," the source, who asked for anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#2: "In another incident in northern Mosul, policemen found an improvised explosive device (IED) and while defusing it one policeman was wounded," the source added.

#3: Meanwhile, a police source said the body of a gunman killed earlier by a policeman was found in the neighborhood of Adan, eastern Mosul.

#4: Two civilians were wounded in a bomb explosion. An explosive charge went off in al-Zinjli region in western Mosul, wounding two civilians,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq

#5: unknown gunmen kidnapped two truck drivers in two separate incidents in western Mosul, a police source said. Meanwhile, the same source said that unknown gunmen kidnap two truck drivers in al-Yabesat region in western Mosul. “The gunmen blocked the way of the two trucks loading with wheat and took with their drivers to an unknown place,” he also said.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Six members of the same family, including one woman and three children, were found shot dead in an open area east of Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad, said Colonel Salih Mahdi, a police official in Ramadi.

#1: Meanwhile, the Afghan Defence Ministry said in a statement that six militants were killed Monday in a clash in the south-eastern province of Paktika, which has long border with neighbouring Pakistan.

#2: A roadside bomb hit a Pakistan air force truck in a northwestern city Tuesday, killing as many as 14 people including a 5-year-old girl in the latest violence in the volatile region. The blast hit the vehicle on a bridge on the outskirts of Peshawar, provincial police chief Malik Naveed Khan said. The truck was traveling between the city and the nearby air force base in Badaber. Jehangir Khan, another police officer, said seven air force personnel and five civilians were killed in the bombing. Fourteen other people were injured, he said.

A Dutch television journalist was killed overnight when Russian warplanes bombed the central Georgian city of Gori. The television news station RTL reported on its Web site that its cameraman Stan Storimans, 39, was killed and correspondent Jeroen Akkermans was wounded in the leg in the attack. RTL said at least five people died in the Gori bombing.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said Tuesday he was halting military operations in Georgia because they had accomplished their end, though explosions continued to rattle the now largely abandoned town of Gori.

There was confusion Monday night over the status of Gori, with some reports saying it was already in Russian hands. The country's main east-west highway, which passes through the city, was cut, Georgian officials said, and rumors swirled among residents of the capital that Russian soldiers would soon be on their streets. There was no evidence Tuesday that Russian troops had moved into Gori.

Earlier Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it wanted a demilitarized zone to be created in Georgian territory before a cease-fire could take effect. The zone had to be big enough to prevent Georgia's military from again attacking the breakaway province, Lavrov said.
Russian troops who were already in the breakaway province on peacekeeping duty should remain, Lavrov explained, but Georgian troops who were part of that force should not return.

The Georgian government claimed that despite Medvedev's announcement, Russian warplanes struck two villages and military forces bombed an ambulance outside the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

Meanwhile, the Russian military advanced further into Georgia overnight, heading toward cities outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia. From the flashpoint South Ossetia, the Russian military moved south toward the central Georgia city of Gori, Georgia said. Russia said its troops were on the outskirts of the city. Russian troops were also in Senaki, in western Georgia, having advanced from the breakaway area of Abkhazia, Russian and Georgian officials said. Georgia's security chief Alexander Lomaia said Tuesday that Russian troops had left Senaki but remained on the outskirts of Zugdidi and around Gori, The Associated Press reported.

Lomaia said Russian aircraft bombed Gori on Tuesday morning, targeting administrative buildings and a street market in the center, AP reported.

An Georgian Interior Ministry official added that Russian bombs hit one of the three pipelines carrying oil to the Black Sea port of Poti. There was no oil in the pipeline at the time, the ministry official said.

The fighting appeared to continue in Georgia on Tuesday — with reports of sporadic bombing and some Russian troops digging in around Georgian cities — and it was uncertain how quickly Mr. Medvedev’s statement would lead to an end to hostilities.

However, on the ground in Georgia fighting continued. In Poti, a port city in western Georgia, a New York Times correspondent heard bombs falling around an hour after Mr. Medvedev’s statement. Residents and officials were tense as Russian troops drove through the city, talking to residents. They appeared to be digging into positions on the city’s outskirts. There were reports that Russian troops were engaged in similar activities in the western Georgian towns of Zugdidi and Kareli, an American official said.

Russian troops briefly seized a Georgian military base near Abkhazia and took up positions close to Gori on Monday, raising Georgian fears of a full-scale invasion or an attempt to oust the country’s pro-Western president, Mikheil Saakashvili. On Tuesday, a bomb landed on Gori’s Stalin Square — named for the Soviet leader who was born in the city — killing five people. Attack helicopters buzzed through the sky, and ambulances sped through the city. The key road to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, was completely cleared of Georgian forces Tuesday, except for broken and abandoned vehicles left behind in the retreat.

Georgian authorities also reported a continuation of the fighting, saying that Russian fighter jets bombarded two villages located outside South Ossetia in Georgia proper, although this could not be independently confirmed.

On Tuesday, General Nogovitsyn, the senior defense official, did not say there would be a withdrawal from the Kodori Gorge, the only part of the territory where Georgia has military forces. “The relationship between forces on both sides will be decided later on,” he said. “This takes time, it will not be done overnight. Luckily, there were no hostilities in that area.”

Casualty Reports:

Scott Adams was hit by a roadside bomb near Baghdad. He woke up, he'd been in a coma for a few weeks, and he was burned on over nearly half of his body. His back was broken in eight places, and a blood clot ran the entire length of one leg. He was on his sixth tour of duty at the time, and that would be the last.

Sgt. Matthew Gobble survived hell in Afghanistan had been hit with shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade and that he had been airlifted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he would spend several weeks recovering. Shrapnel was in the left side of Gobble's body, and he had to have surgery on his left knee to remove some of it, his father said. Doctors told Matthew that shrapnel in the other parts of his body would work its way out on its own, he said.