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, September 13, 2008

War News for Saturday, September 13, 2008

The British MoD is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from a shot in the head in the vicinity of Forward Operating Base Gibraltar, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Friday, September 12th. Here's the NATO statement

Sept. 11 airpower summary:

Sept. 12 airpower summary:

Japan police probe 2 explosions near US Navy base:

Bush destabilizing world security by invading Pak, says US Senator:

Pakistani political party responds to US threat:

Pakistan pursuing diplomacy on cross-border raids:

Shoulder-fired rocket launcher being developed:

Bush keeping Iraq troop levels mostly steady:

Cholera claims lives of 2 out of 7 in Fallujah, with 4 more cases in Karbala:

Twenty-one cholera cases confirmed in Baghdad:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A bomb concealed in a kiosk used to sell ice killed four people and wounded nine others Saturday at a security checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraqi authorities said. The dead in the attack in eastern Baghdad included three Iraqi police commandos and a member of a U.S.-funded armed Sunni group that has turned against al-Qaida in Iraq, police and medics said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. Seven Iraqi security personnel and two bystanders were injured.

#2: Another roadside bomb detonated near a police patrol in the southern neighborhood of Doura, wounding four policemen and damaging a police vehicle, the source added.

#3: A third explosive charge planted in a civilian vehicle detonated near the Madinat al-Tib hospital in Baghdad downtown neighborhood of Bab al-Mu'dham, he said.

#4: Three civilians were killed and five others wounded when an improvised explosive device, the third of its kind to detonate in the Iraqi capital on Saturday, went off in the area of Kemp Sara, southern Baghdad, police said."An IED went off today near auto workshops in Kemp Sara, southern Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounding five others," a security source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#5: Four civilians were wounded on Saturday when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of al-Waziriya, the Iraqi police said. "An IED detonated today near the mosque of Adila Khatoun in al-Waziriya, northern Baghdad, leaving four civilians wounded," the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) on condition of anonymity.He did not give more details.

#6: Around 11:30 am, a roadside bomb targeted a national police patrol in Karrada neighborhood in central Baghdad. Three people were killed including one policeman and five others were wounded (including 2 policemen).

Diyala Prv:
#1: Northeast of the capital, six Kurdish troops died in a roadside bombing that reflected how ethnic tensions in some parts of Iraq remain dangerously high, a local official said. The Kurdish peshmerga forces, including a brigadier general, died while on patrol in the city of Khanaqin, 90 miles northeast of Baghdad near the border with Iran, said Ibrahim Bajilan, head of the Diyala provincial council. Two other troops were injured.

#1: Two civilians were wounded on Saturday when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted into the car they boarded went off in northern Babel province, police said."A blast from an IED emplaced in the trunk of a vehicle on Saturday wounded two civilians inside within the northern environs of Hilla city," a security source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#1: A civilian was killed and three other persons were wounded in southern Basra when an Iraqi soldier fired at them, a police media source said. "During a late hour on Friday evening, a civilian was killed and three other individuals, including a traffic policeman, were wounded when an Iraqi serviceman fired random shots in Abi al-Khaseeb market," a media source from Basra police told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Iraqi army in Basra, Colonel Abbas al-Tameemi, told VOI that a soldier mistakenly pulled the trigger while he was conducting a raid-and-search operation with his unit in the area, killing a civilian and wounding three other persons.

Sulaiman Pek:
#1: A roadside bomb wounded the head of the Sulaiman Pek district and two of his guards in Sulaiman Pek, 160 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

The head of a Salah al-Din municipal council survived an assassination attempt when a sticky explosive charge detonated near his house in Sulaiman Bik district, a police source said on Saturday. "A sticky improvised explosive device (IED) placed inside a car that was parked near the house of Rasheed Ali Ahmed, the head of the municipal council of Sulaiman Bik district, Touz Khormato, detonated while he was leaving the house in his private car, wounding him along with one of his bodyguards," the source, who preferred to remain unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

#1: Gunmen killed a real estate broker in a drive-by shooting in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A four-member crew of the Iraqi television channel Al-Sharqiyah was kidnapped by gunmen and later killed in northern Iraq on Saturday, the channel announced. Iraqi security officials said the crew was kidnapped in the Al-Zangili area of northern Iraq's restive city of Mosul as they were on assignment for the popular programme Futurqum Alena (Dinner On Us). Their bullet-riddled bodies were later found near Al-Zangili, they added. Al-Sharqiyah said the crew comprised of the channel's Mosul bureau chief, Musab al-Azzawi, two cameramen, and a driver.

#2: Gunmen stormed a house and killed a man and his wife in eastern Mosul, police said.

#1: A remote control bomb that witnesses said was set off by two men on a nearby hilltop ripped through an Afghan provincial governor's vehicle on Saturday, killing the governor and three others, officials said. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the blast that killed Abdullah Wardak, the governor of Logar province. Two of Wardak's bodyguards and a driver were also killed, said Gen. Zalmay Khan, a police commander in Kabul province. The explosion occurred only about 500 yards from the governor's home. He had been traveling in the second car of a three-car convoy that was headed for parliament. The bomb detonated directly on the governor's vehicle, shredding the front half of the SUV and flipping the remains upside down. A resident in Paghman, the area where the attack occurred about 12 miles west of Kabul, said he saw two men on the side of a hill near the road where the explosion detonated. Mohammad Shoaib said that after the bomb went off, the two men ran away. Authorities found wires on top of the hill, he said.

#2: Pakistan's military said Saturday it had killed at least 72 militants in three days of fighting near the Afghan border, where Taliban and al-Qaida militants are believed to be hiding. The army has intensified ground and air attacks in an effort to flush out Taliban and local militants from the Bajur tribal region. We killed 72 militants, while eight of our soldiers died in Bajur since Wednesday," Maj. Murad Khan told The Associated Press, adding the military was still targeting militant positions in various parts of Bajur. Khan Mohammed, an area resident, said the military was facing unusual resistance" from militants. The exchange of fire between the army and Taliban is still continuing," he said.

#3: Taliban insurgents beheaded three men after accusing them of spying for the government overnight in Ghazni province, an official said on Saturday.

#4: Five rockets landed near a U.N. compound in western Herat late on Friday, but caused no casualties or damages, an official said. The strike came hours after authorities cancelled flights from the province's only airport following a similar attack the previous night.

#5: Two Tajik border guards were killed in a shootout with 18 Afghan militants trying to cross the border illegally, a spokesman for Tajik border guards said on Saturday. Khushnud Rakhmatullaev said the guards spotted the group of militants 250 km south of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, at around midnight. After a few warning shots in the air were made, the offenders "opened massive fire" supported by other militia located deeper on the Afghan side. The shootout, which lasted for two hours, made the Afghan militia turn back. He also said that some militants had been killed or injured since there were a lot of blood spots in the area.

Casualty Reports:

Air Force Staff Sgt. Nick Bradley, 25, After more than a month that included nine major operations - days on which he could not talk and weeks when he could not dress, bathe, brush his teeth or use the bathroom without help - Bradley officially left his room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to join the ranks of its outpatients. Given the condition he was in after a roadside mine blew him out of the vehicle he was driving in Afghanistan. He still could not open his eyes when they found him, and the worst pain he had ever felt was rippling through his right arm. The arm was still attached, but shattered. Bradley also had lost his left index finger and right middle finger, and his right thumb, right foot and right hip were broken. There was a lot of talk that he may have brain injuries. It was a scary ... first couple of days." A few days later, although surgeries, debilitating medications and long periods with tubes in his trachea awaited him, he became more alert and began to remember who and what he had seen.

U.S. PV2 Charles "Chas" Shaffer is recovering from wounds received when the vehicle he was driving ran over a bomb in Mosul, Iraq, on Aug. 31. Chas Shaffer, 23, a 2003 O'Fallon Township High School graduate, is a combat engineer with the Army's E Company, 1-8 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colo. He shipped out to Iraq in December on a 15-month deployment. Shaffer's right leg was amputated above the knee following the explosion. Field medics were forced to cut off the leg to remove him from the wreckage of the vehicle he was driving, Shaffer's father said. The IED was the fifth bomb of its kind the younger Shaffer had experienced during his tour in Iraq. He escaped four previous explosions without injury.