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

Monday, November 10, 2008

War News for Monday, November 10, 2008

Nov. 7 airpower summary:

U.S. has reportedly crossed borders of other countries several times:

Significant Minority Still Believe that Iraq Had Weapons of Mass Destruction When U.S. Invaded:

Secret Order Lets U.S. Raid Al Qaeda in Many Countries:

Iraq halts Kirkuk oil exports - shipping source:

Iraq's northern city removes security barriers:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Two car bombs exploded in central Baghdad on Monday and a suicide bomber blew himself up among police and civilians who rushed to help the wounded, a triple strike that killed 28 people and wounded 68. The triple attack in Baghdad, one of the deadliest incidents in Iraq for months, took place in the Kasra neighbourhood on the east bank of the Tigris River in a bustling area of tea shops and restaurants near a fine arts institute. Male and female students, many of whom were having breakfast at the time of the strike, were among the dead and wounded, as were Iraqi soldiers and police who had rushed to the scene.

The Interior Ministry, which controls the police, gave the casualty figure of 28 dead and 68 wounded. A check of four hospitals in the Baghdad area indicated 29 were killed, and hospital officials said some of the wounded were in critical condition.

#2: Three civilians were wounded in an improvised explosive device attack in central Baghdad on Monday, police said. “An IED attached to a civilian vehicle near Square 52 in al-Mashan complex, central Baghdad, went off today, leaving three civilians wounded,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

Diyala Prv:
#1: In another attack, in Baquba, capital of volatile northern Diyala province, a teenaged girl in a suicide bomb vest blew herself up at a checkpoint of U.S.-backed security patrolmen, killing four people and wounding 18.

A female suicide bomber killed four Sunni guards and wounded at least 15 civilians at a checkpoint in central Iraq, a military and medical official said. The attacker activated her explosives belt at a checkpoint in Baquba, capital of Diyala province, manned by Awakening or Sahwa, the former Sunni anti-American insurgents who switched sides to battle Al-Qaeda, police said. Fifteen people, including three women, were also injured in the attack shortly before noon (09H00 GMT), they said. A hospital medic confirmed the number of victims and injured.

A female suicide bomber killed seven tribal police members on Monday in Iraq's Baquba city, witnesses said. The bomber detonated herself in the midst of a tribal police checkpoint in al-Atibaa street in the centre of Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, witnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa.

#1: An owner of a money exchange company was killed by unidentified gunmen on Monday, a police source in Babel said. “Masked gunmen attacked a money exchange company on al-Tohmaziya street in central Hilla 30 minutes after the company opened its doors,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq. “The gunmen, who opened fire at the company owner from a gun with a silencer attached to it, then stole a sum of money,” the source added.

#1: The Multi-National Force (MNF) troops detonated on Monday two improvised explosive devices, which had been found by Iraqi army soldiers, without incident, a source from the Kirkuk police operations room said. “An Iraqi army force today found two IEDs in the area of Wadi Abu al-Khanajer, al-Riad district, (40 km) southwest of Kirkuk,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#1: A policeman was wounded when his patrol came under unidentified fire in southwestern Mosul on Monday, a security source in Ninewa said. “The policeman’s patrol was attacked by unidentified gunmen in al-Mosul al-Jadida, or New Mosul, area, in the southwestern part of the city, this morning,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: Four civilians were wounded when four improvised explosive devices went off consecutively in southern Mosul on Monday, a police source in Ninewa province said. “Four civilians, including two women, were injured today when four IEDs attached by unidentified persons to houses of policemen in al-Maamoun neighborhood, southern Mosul, went off,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

Dahuk Prv:
#1: The Turkish military struck the border area of northern Iraq on Monday, Iraqi officials said, in the latest apparent attack on Kurdish separatist PKK fighters. Colonel Hussein Tamor, head of border guards in Iraq's northern Kurdish province of Dahuk, told Reuters that artillery shells had struck at around 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) in the area, which has a remote mountain border with southeastern Turkey. A spokesman for the Kurdish Peshmerga Security forces Jabbar Yawar said there were three or four Turkish warplanes flying over Dahuk at the time of the attack. "The bombing was very hard," Yawar said. Both said there were no casualties in the strikes because the area was largely unpopulated.

#1: An air strike by U.S.-led Coalition forces killed 14 suspected militants in the eastern province of Khost in Afghanistan, but the local government claims those killed were civilians. In a statement, the U.S.-led forces say three vehicles believed to be driven by militants, fired on them forcing them to return fire with rifles and helicopter gun fires. The firefight resulted the vehicles to explode, apparently from the ammunitions inside it, the military said. The statement adds, a big number of ammunition belts and small-arms weapons were recovered from the vehicles. However, provincial governor Arsallah Jamal said the 14 men killed were security guards of a local road construction firm Gul Rahim.

#2: At least two people were killed in a landmine explosion in the insurgency-hit southwest Pakistan on Monday, police said. The victims were riding a motorbike that hit a landmine planted on a roadside in Dera Bugti town of the gas-rich Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan and Iran.

#3: Militants in northwest Pakistan hijacked 13 trucks carrying supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan on Monday as they passed through the Khyber Pass, a government official said. The trucks were seized at four places along a 35 km (20 mile) stretch of the road, said a senior government administrator in the Khyber region. "About 60 masked gunmen popped up on the road and took away the trucks with their drivers. Not a single shot was fired anywhere," the official, Bakhtiar Mohmand, told Reuters. Mohmand said the trucks were not carrying weapons or ammunition but he was not sure what goods they were taking.

About two dozen trucks and oil-tankers have been attacked in the past month, transport operators said.

Casualty Reports:

U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Curtis, 26, flew home Nov. 3 to have surgery on his damaged shoulder. "They say the recovery time for a shoulder injury might take up to six months," Curtis said during an impromptu news conference at Huntsville International Airport. "If I heal quicker, I'll be able to get back to doing what I do." The accident happened Oct. 23. Curtis was driving a heavily armored Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle back from Mosul as part of a convoy. He said he crested a hill and saw that a wrecker in front of him had stopped. He hit the brakes. The 19-ton vehicle skidded off the road and flipped over, injuring Curtis and five fellow soldiers inside. Curtis' right shoulder bore the brunt of the impact, and he tore several tendons. Others fared worse: broken ribs, lacerated kidney. Four of those involved, including Curtis, were sent back to the United States to recuperate.

Staff Sgt. Carlos Barreto, a 41-year-old career soldier who was brain-injured in a bomb blast In Iraq. He was deployed to Iraq in late 2005, where he was leader of a personal security team nicknamed the Night Stalkers. The team provided convoy security for the battalion commander and command sergeant major during visits to construction project sites. During one mission, he was in a lead vehicle of a caravan driving a gravel, pothole-filled road north of Baghdad. ''There was this bump and I thought -- what was that? Another pothole? -- until I saw smoke. And then it was like that scene in the 'Matrix' where everything is slow motion. I drove another 200 yards, I don't remember how I controlled the vehicle. Luckily the IED (improvised explosive device) just hit the rear seat." Fellow soldiers treated him in the field, removing shrapnel from the back of his head and neck. He returned to the States in December 2006, suffering from constant headaches, neck pain and insomnia. Tests found that he had a vertebrae injury and a brain injury much like that caused by shaken baby syndrome. The injury left him with short-term memory problems and difficulty with multitasking, he says. His neck injury caused physical problems, too. "I used to be able to go backpacking, but I can't do that anymore," he says.

British Pte. Simon Jackson was out on manoeuvre in the Helmand Province when he suffered a gunshot wound to the leg on Saturday. The trooper and tank driver, who turns 19 today, had been in Afghanistan for three weeks. It is understood the bullet went through Pte Jackson’s fibula and tibia. The wounded soldier was being flown back to Britain for emergency medical treatment last night. Pte Jackson was shot through the leg while he was out with the A-squadron of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, at around 5.30pm on Saturday.

Canadian Major Mark Campbell, 43, recalls about the first chaotic moments after he knelt on a land mine during an operation in southern Afghanistan on June 2. The explosion, which wounded three other soldiers from the Edmonton-based 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and an Afghan interpreter, left a small crater. When he looked down, both his legs had been blown off. He reached for a tourniquet in his flak jacket and applied it to his left stump before "excruciating" pain washed over his body.

Civ. Paula Lloyd, a social scientist with Human Terrain System, lived 4 1/2 months in the Kansas City area while training at Fort Leavenworth. The attack, claimed by the Taliban in news reports, came Wednesday in the southern village of Maywand, near Kandahar. Lloyd suffered second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body before a team member submerged her in water nearby. She was flown to the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where her condition Sunday was stable but guarded.