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

Friday, November 21, 2008

War News for Friday, November 21, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of A Multi-National Force – West Marine of a non-combat related incident somewhere in Al Anbar province on Wednesday, November 19th. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of A Multi-National Force – Center Soldier of a non-combat related incident somewhere in Iraq on Thursday, November 20th. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of A Multi-National Force – North Soldier of a non-combat related incident in Mosul on Friday, November 21th. No other details were released.

Nov. 19 airpower summary:

MQ-1B Predator accident report released:

Baghdad locked down for Sadr demo against pact:

Pakistan army practises shooting drone aircraft:

Pentagon plan calls for increased defense spending: (could we just cut it by 10% or so?)

US details role for additional Afghan forces:

2 Sri Lankan soldiers killed and 13 injured in accidental shooting:

U.S. may begin using warrants in Iraq:

US: Between Iraq and a hard place:

#1: Three civilians were killed and 15 people, including three policemen, injured when a roadside bomb detonated near a police checkpoint in the Doura district in southern Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#2: In a separate incident, another roadside bomb went off near an Iraqi army dismounted patrol near the al-Zarzoor restaurant in Baghdad western district of Mansour, wounding two soldiers and two civilians, the source said.

The same source said “another bomb exploded targeting an Iraqi army vehicle patrol in al-Mansour region in western Baghdad, injuring four soldiers.”

#1: An IED emplaced under the vehicle of a local resident went off in Shoqaq al-Ghaz, eastern Kirkuk, but left no casualties,” Brig. Sarhad Qader, the chief of the Kirkuk Districts’ Police Department, told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: “In al-Ihtifalat square, southwest of Kirkuk, a mortar shell was fired but left no casualties either,” Qader said.

#1: A truck bomb driven by a suicide bomber targeted a checkpoint manned by Iraqi Army in Thawra neighbourhood, downtown Mosul at 8.30 p.m. Thursday, injuring thirty six people including six soldiers and causing severe material damages to surrounding buildings and civilian cars.

Northern Iraq:
#1: Unknown assailants launched an attack on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline between Iraq and Turkey on Friday, triggering a large fire, broadcaster CNN Turk reported. No further details were immediately available. Separatist Kurdish guerrillas have carried out attacks on pipelines in Turkey in the past.

#1: An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft system was damaged at approximately 10:15 a.m. Nov. 20 at a base in southern Afghanistan. The aircraft is a medium-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft with a primary mission of conducting armed reconnaissance. A safety investigation board will be convened to investigate the incident.

#2: A blast killed at least eight mourners Friday at the funeral of a Shiite cleric in northwestern Pakistan who was gunned down hours earlier, police said. At least 28 others were wounded. The victims were attending the funeral of cleric Allama Nazir Shah Naqvi, who was fatally shot earlier Friday, Marwat said, adding it was not yet clear if the blast was from a hidden explosive device, a grenade or a suicide bomber. Eight bodies were taken to a local hospital where 28 people wounded in the attack were being treated, including some in critical condition, Dr. Farid Mehsud said.

#3: Also in the border region, a suicide bomber late Thursday attacked a mosque where government-backed anti-militant tribesman were praying, killing eight, including the head of the group, officials said.

#4: The U.S. military says Afghan and coalition forces killed four militants in a firefight north of Kabul. A military statement says the fighting broke out when troops from the U.S.-led coalition were searching a compound associated with Hizb-e-Islami, an Islamic faction led by warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The statement says people barricaded in the compound fired on the troops. Coalition and Afghan forces returned fire -- killing four people and capturing three others. The clash occurred in northern Kapisa province's Tagab district. Provincial Police Chief Matyullah Safi confirmed the four deaths and that they were members of Hizb-e-Islami.

#5: Australia's new training team in Afghanistan fought Taliban insurgents four times in the last month, including repelling an attack against a remote patrol base manned by Australian and Afghan troops. In one contact, Taliban forces opened fire with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) but withdrew after a 20-minute exchange of fire. In another incident, a patrol came under Taliban fire but withdrew to remove the risk of injuring local civilians. "Last weekend, Taliban insurgents launched an attack against a patrol base manned by Australian and ANA soldiers," Air Chief Marshal Houston said. "Rockets and small-arms fire were fired at the patrol base. The insurgent attack was met with a professional and well coordinated response, including small-arms fire from the Australian and Afghan soldiers, mortar and artillery support." In the most recent attack on Tuesday, insurgents fired on an Australian and Afghan patrol before quickly withdrawing.

#6: Pakistani soldiers practised shooting at pilotless "drone" aircraft on Friday, the military said a day after the government lodged a protest with the U.S. ambassador over drone missile strikes in Pakistani territory. Anti-aircraft guns and short-range surface-to-air missiles were used during the exercise conducted at a desert range near the city of Muzaffargarh in the central Pubjab province.

#7: Three civilians were killed and four Afghan soldiers were wounded Friday when a suicide car bomb exploded in front of an army base in southern Afghanistan, officials said. The blast occurred in Shahjoy district of Zabul province, provincial vice governor Gulab Shah Alikhil said. "The driver of a vehicle blew himself up in front of the (Afghan army) base, killing three civilians who were employees queuing to enter. Four soldiers were also wounded in the explosion," he said.

U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Ian LeJeune on Feb. 23, 2005, while serving my third combat tour in Iraq, my living quarters were directly hit by an enemy launched 9-foot rocket. I sustained the following injuries when the rocket exploded not more than 15 feet from where I was sleeping: Open fractures right tibia, open fractures left fibula, open fractures first/second/third left metatarsal, severed left Achilles tendon, severed third toe-right foot, 17.5 percent second- and third-degree burns total body and primarily lower extremities, severe nerve damage-lower extremities and too many metal shrapnel lacerations to list. I have had more than 17 surgeries to date that include: Burn debridement, skin grafts, infected tissue removal, Achilles tendon repair-soleus flap (part of my calf muscle was placed over the tendon repair site), internal fixation, first/second/third metatarsal left foot (fusion due to severely damaged bone), internal fixation-right tibia and traumatic amputation-right third toe. I was awake to see myself in a state of disrepair that has left a mental image and scar that is irreversible, but not according to the VA: this type of incident should not cause that much of a problem.

British Cpl Stu Hefi, 26, has spent six months at the facility after he was shot in the leg during an operation with 1 Squadron RAF Regiment, in Basra, in August last year.Cpl Hefi, a gunner from RAF Honington, said: "I thought I could lose my leg or even lose my life.

Denita Hartfield, 34, survived a roadside bomb attack in Iraq in 2005 that has caused traumatic brain injury. After spending a year in a military hospital in Kansas recovering from her combat wounds, she was honorably discharged as a sergeant first class from the Army with medical retirement. The Los Angeles native relocated to Bakersfield, where grandmother lives.

Capt. Adrian Perez was injured during a patrol by an Improvised Explosive Device that left him partially blind and with wounds to his shoulders and back, Perez was evacuated first to a hospital in Mosul, then to Landsthul, Germany, and finally ended up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.