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, November 22, 2008

War News for Saturday, November 22, 2008

The French MoD is reporting the death of a French ISAF soldier from a mine explosion near the Darulaman camp south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, November 22nd. One additional soldier was wounded in the attack.

Nov. 20 airpower summary:

Iraq Halts 400,000 B/D Oil Flow To Turkey On Pipeline Sabotage:

Turkish pipeline still on fire after attack-source:

Iraq sees Ceyhan pipeline reopened in one week:

Bug-sized spies: US develops tiny flying robots: (We have had these for a long while it's only coming out in the open now...)

Do you know a severely injured vet who need a home? West Orange Habitat for Humanity is looking for a severely injured combat veteran or a vet's widow to move into a planned second "Home at Last" house.

Staying Power: Wounded Marines Ordered to do Their Part to Recover: To date, more than 6,600 Marines have received Purple Hearts since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. About 1,200 are seriously injured and still on active duty in various stages of their recovery. Baronie is one of the Marine Corps' nearly 3,000 injured who have returned to active duty. And he is not the only leader in the company who was injured in combat.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Police found a mass grave containing at least 10 decomposed bodies, including the bodies of two women, in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Gunmen killed a man in an attack on his car on Friday in Mahaweel, 60 km (35 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: The landing gear of an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft system collapsed after the aircraft landed about 6:45 a.m. Baghdad time Nov. 21 on the Joint Base Balad runway in Iraq. The extent of the damage is unknown at this time. The Predator is assigned to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing from Joint Base Balad. The aircraft's primary mission is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets.

#1: Two people have died and 15 others suffered injuries in a bomb blast in a market in the city of Khost in Afghanistan. The AFP news agency cites the province's intelligence chief Colonel Mohammed Yaqob as saying that a 15-year-old boy and a man lost their lives after a car exploded in the city's market.

#2: The Taliban have killed a local district chief after keeping him for four months in their custody. The body of Mohammad Qhais Akmal, district chief of Marawara, Kunar province, was dumped in Sirkanay, Kunar, on Friday night. However, it is said that he was kidnapped by gang of kidnapers for ransom not for political reason but the officials attribute the event to Taliban.

#3: A suspected U.S. missile strike killed five militants in a Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, officials said. There were unconfirmed reports that the dead included Rashid Rauf, a British suspect in a foiled plot to down trans-Atlantic jetliners who escaped from Pakistani custody last year. Saturday's strike occurred in the North Waziristan region, part of the tribal belt from where militants are supporting the growing insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan and a possible hiding place for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials, citing reports from their agents in the region, said the pre-dawn attack killed four foreign militants and a Pakistani. The officials said the targeted house in the village of Ali Khel belonged to a Pakistani Taliban commander named Khaliq Noor who was known to shelter foreign fighters. A third intelligence official in Islamabad said intercepted communications among militants indicated that Rauf was among those killed, but cautioned that government agents in the area had not seen his body. A senior Pakistani government official said spy agencies were seeking more evidence that Rauf was present.

#4: Armed militants threw hand grenades at a wedding party in northern Afghanistan, killing eight people and injuring over 60 others, including a bride, a local governor said on Saturday. The incident occurred in the Totem Dara area, in the Parwan province, on Friday night, Abdul Jabbar Taqwa told journalists. He described the attack as "barbaric" but denied that it was a terrorist act. A provincial police chief, Khalilullah Zeyaee, said no one had been arrested. He added: "We think personal enmity could have been the cause of the attack."

#5: Three policemen were killed and one injured Saturday when Islamic militants targeted a security check post in Pakistan's North Western Frontier Province, an official said. The attack took place at 3:45 am in the Lora area of Bannu district, about 200 kilometres south of the provincial capital, Peshawar. "Around two dozen or more Taliban besieged the post and fired several rockets at it," said a police officer Farid Khan. "Our officers offered tough resistance but they were outnumbered by the militants."

#6: In another operation early Friday in Farah province, western Afghanistan, Afghan National Army (ANA) backed by Coalition forces eliminated four militants in the area, the statement said. "The combined forces were conducting a raid on a compound, targeting a Taliban commander in Dowlatabad village, Farah province, when they received fire from several enemy fighting positions," it said. "The combined forces quickly returned fire and also established a security perimeter to protect 30 children, 25 women and 34 other non-combatants in the area of the operation." "The exchange of fire resulted in the deaths of four enemy fighters who the local population confirmed were Taliban militants," it added. No ANA soldiers, Coalition forces or civilian casualties resulted from the operation, it further noted.

#7: Moreover, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and Coalition forces on Thursday killed 10 militants near highway in Nahr Surkh district of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. "ANSF and Coalition forces were conducting a security patrol when they were attacked by militants with small-arms and machine-gun fire," it said. "ANSF and Coalition forces returned fire, killing 10 militants." One ANSF soldier was injured in the clash, it added.

#8: Eight Canadian soldiers have been injured in Afghanistan after the armoured vehicle they were travelling in struck an improvised explosive device during a routine patrol Friday afternoon. The soldiers were on patrol in Kandahar's Arghandab District when the explosion occurred around 1 p.m. local time.

Casualty Reports:

Marine Capt. Ray Baronie was traveling in a convoy in Ramadi, Iraq, on Dec. 1, 2005 when an anti-tank round blasted his truck. Baronie's legs were shattered, his body cut and bloodied. His driver was killed. The truck rolled onto its side, and then he was shot at. But really hard times didn't hit until Baronie came back to the United States. Baronie's right leg was amputated above the knee. He lost major muscle from both legs. He can tap his thigh bone through the skin on the back of his left leg. He now walks with the help of a cane and a prosthetic right leg. Scars cover his arms.