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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

War News for Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Australian DoD is reporting the death of an Australian ISAF soldier from an IED attack in Oruzgan province, Afghanistan on Thursday, November 27th. Two additional soldiers were wounded in the attack. Here's the official ISAF statement.

The British MoD is reporting the deaths of two British Marines during enemy fire to the north west of Lashkar Gah. Helmand Province on Thursday, November 27th. No additional details were released. Here's the ISAF statement.

Nov. 25 airpower summary:

NATO forces bracing for winter war in Afghanistan:

Iraqi government rejects Sunni pact demands:

Iraq gov't agrees with Sunnis on US pact - official:

Iraqi parliament approves US security pact:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A soldier was killed and three others were wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near their patrol in the al-Qahira neighborhood in northern Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#2: In separate attack also on Thursday morning, a police commando officer was killed when a bomb planted in his car went off while he was on his way to work in Baghdad's southern neighborhood of Saydiyah, the source said. The explosive charge, which was of a magnetic kind badly damaged the victim's car, he added.

#3: Meanwhile, six civilians were wounded by another roadside bomb explosion near the Maysaloon Square in eastern Baghdad, said the source.

A civilian was killed and six more were wounded on Thursday in a bomb blast in eastern Baghdad, a police source said. “An explosive device went off in Mislon square in Baghdad al-Jadieda region in eastern Baghdad, killing a civilian and injuring six,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#4: One person was killed and 10 suspects were arrested during several security operations in different parts of Iraq throughout the past 24 hours, the Multi-National Force (MNF) said on Thursday.

#1: Four civilians were wounded on Thursday in a suicide bomb attack in central Mosul, a source from the Ninewa operations command said. “A suicide bomber blew up an explosive belt strapped to his body, targeting a police vehicle patrol in al-Jomhouriya street in central Mosul, injuring four civilians,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: Two civilians on Thursday were killed, and 25 persons were wounded, in a second suicide bombing in Mosul city today, said a security source from Ninewa province’s police. “A car bomb driven by a suicide attacker targeted a police patrol, southern Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq. “15 policemen were among the injured,” he said.

#1: A suicide car bomber targeting an American convoy exploded about 200 yards (meters) outside the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Thursday, killing at least four Afghan bystanders as people entered the compound for a Thanksgiving Day race. Four Afghans at least 18 more people were wounded in the 8:30 a.m. attack, said Abdullah Fahim, a health ministry spokesman. Police officer Abdul Manan said the explosion was set off by a suicide bomber in a Toyota Corolla. No U.S. Embassy personnel were killed or injured in the blast, an Embassy statement said.

#2: At least three persons were killed in a bomb blast in Pakistan's tribal area on Thursday, private TV channel SAMAA reported. A car was blown up when a remote-controlled bomb went off and three people were killed as a result in South Waziristan tribal region, said the report.

Casualty Reports:

Army Spc. Rick Yarosh, 26, of Windsor is grateful for being able to hold his cell phone two years after an explosion in Iraq blew off part of his thumb and burned 60 percent of his body. On Sept. 1, 2006, a Bradley armored vehicle Rick Yarosh was riding in struck an improvised explosive device just outside of Baghdad. Yarosh jumped out of the vehicle, shattering his right leg and severing an artery. His leg was later amputated below the knee. He rolled into a shallow canal to put out the flames on his skin but contracted cholera and a skin fungus from the contaminated water. Yarosh was flown back to the United States where he began treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, including more than 30 surgeries. Over the past year, he has undergone four more surgeries, including one to widen the web space between his pointer finger and thumb. Another surgery installed tissue expanders in his shoulders so doctors could use the skin on his shoulders to replace the burned skin on his face. He developed an infection and had to have the tissue expanders removed.

Master Sgt. Scott Beaupre, 37, trained undereducated Afghan police in the rigors of law enforcement, suffered a concussion from an improvised explosive. He was driving in the last of 12 vehicles in a convoy when an explosion ripped through his armored Humvee, injuring him and two others.

David Battle was injured in Baghdad. A blast in December 2007 from an improvised explosive device took all of Battle’s limbs but his left arm.

Army Spc. Michael Beck, 21, The staph infections from the 13 pins that brace his disfigured right leg have mostly subsided. He’s no longer tormented by the phantom pains that stabbed mysteriously through his left foot this summer after doctor’s amputated the leg from the shin down. And if all goes as planned, Beck might regain near-perfect vision in his left eye — formerly detached from his retina thanks to a burst of shrapnel — by the start of the new year. N.C. National Guardsmen with the Rocky Mount-based 1132nd Military Police Company who balked at the sound of a mortar alert on April 6 before diving for cover into a concrete bunker. Beck and Pickett turned toward the entrance of the shelter to close a Kevlar blanket designed to block shrapnel. They hadn’t even begun to lift their arms when the mortar shell exploded. Medics restarted Beck’s heart at least once that day.

Sgt. Aaron Cox, 25, saw two tours of duty in Iraq where he was involved in more combat situations than he can remember. In several incidents, explosive devices detonated so close to him that he sustained what may be permanent injuries. on his last tour in Iraq he was part of a "quick response force" that accompanied a bomb disposal unit that dismantled roadside explosive devices. "I was hit with explosions four times, and the concussive force of the shock wave of the explosion can be very great," Cox said. "I suffered several brain concussions and some facial scarring." Cox said that while he knew he had sustained, "some damage," he didn't grasp just how much. "On our base we had a laundry place where I'd gone a hundred times, and one day I was walking to drop off my laundry bag but somehow I walked to the chow hall and waited in that line and someone said 'You can't bring laundry to the chow hall,' and I didn't know where I was," he said. "I was messed up." So messed up, as medical examinations revealed, Cox was sent to a military hospital in Germany and finally back to Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, where he has been undergoing treatment for the past year.