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, October 18, 2008

War News for Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oct. 16 airpower summary:

Thousands march in Baghdad against U.S. pact:

Furious protestors hold mass anti-US rally in Baghdad:

Sadr urges Iraqi lawmakers to reject security pact with US:

US Army to probe 5 slayings linked to brigade:

Marine, his wife found shot to death in Winchester:

Russian soldiers killed in Caucasus-agencies:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: An Iraqi serviceman was killed and two others were wounded in an explosion that ripped through their checkpoint in western Baghdad, a police source said on Saturday. “Today, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near an Iraqi army checkpoint in Baghdad’s eastern area of al-Aameriya, killing one soldier and injuring two others,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: A sticky bomb attached to a caravan used by guards in Ameriyah shelter, west Baghdad (currently used as a joint security station: JSS) exploded at 4.30 a.m. Saturday, killing one guard, injuring another.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A displaced Shiite returning to his home in al-Muallimeen neighbourhood, west Baquba was attacked by gunmen who opened fire and killed him instantly at 1 p.m., Saturday.

Jurf Al-Sakhr:
#1: Iraqi officials say the leader of a U.S.-allied Sunni group that turned against against al-Qaida has been killed in a drive-by shooting south of Baghdad. A police spokesman said al-Janabi was walking Saturday in the village of Jurf al-Sakhr when he was killed. Dr. Zuhair al Khafaji at al-Musayyib hospital in Hillah confirmed the death.

#1: Gunmen shot dead the leader of the Sunni "Awakening" movement in the town of Mussayab, 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A female suicide bomber wounded five members of a local Awakening Council who were manning a checkpoint north of Baghdad on Saturday, a local police official said. The incident happened in Dhuluiya, a Sunni town about 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of Baghdad, according to an official with the town's police. Council members at the checkpoint opened fire on the woman after she failed to obey orders to stop, the official said, but the woman kept running and managed to pull the trigger of her explosives vest near the checkpoint.

#1: A roadside bomb targeted an Asayesh (Kurdish intelligence agency) member in Daquq district as he was on his way to work, Saturday morning, killing him straight away.

#2: A Kurdish security official was killed by a bomb attached to his car south of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said

Qindal Mountains:
#1: update Four Iranian Kurdish PJAK rebels died Friday when Turkish warplanes attacked their positions in Kurdistan region the "north of Iraq", the Kurdish news agency Firat News reported. The rebels were members of an Iranian PJAK group associated with the Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), it said, citing sources in the group. The Turkish army confirmed the raids, saying that all the aircraft had returned safely and that the operation had been carried out "with efficacy." The bombings began around midday in the mountainous region of Qandil, near the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey, the news agency said. The villages of Dola Koke, Aliye Res and Kurtek were targeted, it said. According to the agency, the four dead were new recruits.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Three policemen on Saturday were wounded in an explosive charge attack in northeastern Falluja city, a police source said. “Today, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near an Iraqi police patrol vehicle in al-Zaghareet area, northeastern Falluja, seriously wounding three patrolmen,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: A suicide bomber killed a Sunni imam on Friday night, police said.

#1: A suicide car bomber struck international troops near the western Afghan city of Herat Saturday, wounding five soldiers, officials said. Bomb attacks are relatively rare in or near Herat, one of the most peaceful and prosperous cities in Afghanistan and the main hub for booming trade with nearby Iran. The bomber struck as a convoy of foreign troops was driving from the airport on the outskirts of Herat, regional police chief Rahmataullah Safai said. A spokesman for NATO-led force in western Afghanistan said five soldiers were wounded, and one of their military vehicle was damaged in the attack. Most ISAF troops in Herat are Italian.

Slovenian soldiers escaped unhurt after a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a NATO convoy that included a Slovenian vehicle near Herat on Saturday. A number of coalition troops are reported to have been hurt in the blast.

#2: Afghan officials say gunmen targeted and killed a former bodyguard for President Hamid Karzai outside a mosque in southern Afghanistan. Zulmay Ayubi, the spokesman for Kandahar's governor, says Gul Emat Barakhzai and his father were killed outside the mosque early Saturday.

#3: Troops backed by helicopter gunships and artillery pounded militant positions in northwest Pakistan, killing 60 fighters and wounding many others, the military said Saturday. The assault happened Friday evening in the Swat valley shortly before a senior U.S. official arrived in Pakistan for talks with leaders of a country vital to Western security concerns. It was not immediately possible to independently confirm the casualties. Reporters cannot visit the area because of poor security and government restrictions. No Taliban spokesman was available for comment. The army didn't mention any losses among government forces.

#4: AFGHAN National Security Forces backed by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have killed 19 insurgents in an ongoing offensive against insurgents in northern Afghan province of Wardak, said an ISAF statement issued here today. The joint troops engaged insurgents by small-arms fire, heavy weapons and helicopters in Jalrez district where the fighting continued through last night, resulting in 19 militants killed, the statement said.

#5: Two Bulgarian military officials were slightly injured in a rocket attack against the airport in the Afghanistan's second largest city Kandahar late on Friday.Corporal Stoycho Demirev and Sergeant Delcho Mitev were hurt while keeping their duties as members of the Forth Security Company with the Bulgarian contingent in the country. Demirev suffered an injury of his right hand and Mitev had his leg broken.Both soldiers have been taken for treatment in a Canadian hospital. Their lives are out of danger.

Casualty Reports:

Corp. Bill Kerr on about 11:30 a. m. on Wednesday, during a routine morning foot patrol west of Kandahar city Kerr was "critically injured" when an improvised explosive device detonated. Two other soldiers with Kerr were also hurt, but are said to be in "fair condition." However he remains in critical condition in Kandahar, fighting for his life. When his condition stabilizes, the military plans to fly him to Germany. Members of his family will fly there to be with him.

Cpl. Christopher Gray was in an Abrams tank in Fallujah, Iraq, on Feb. 17, 2007, when insurgents fired two rocket-propelled grenades at the vehicle. One penetrated the top of the tank, causing the bulk of the ammunition inside to explode - directly behind Gray's head. The flames engulfed the inside of the tank, injuring everyone inside. But Gray and the tank commander got the worst of it. Gray sustained third-degree burns on 53 percent of his body. Since then, he has been through multiple skin grafts and other surgeries, including a cornea transplant. About 125 centimeters of his small intestine was removed. He now has difficulty performing tasks that once seemed virtually effortless - like squatting, or leaning down.