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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

War News for Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nov. 15 airpower summary:

Nov. 16 airpower summary:

Iraqi cleric repeats concerns on US-Iraq pact:

Iraq sets provincial poll date for Jan 31:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Two were wounded in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in the area of al-Nahda, central Baghdad, an Iraqi police source said on Tuesday. “A roadside IED emplaced near al-Dhilal company in al-Nahda area went off today, leaving two people wounded,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: Monday Police found 1 dead body in Shurta neighborhood in Karkh bank.

#3: Around 8 a.m. a bomb detonated inside the house of Sadi mahdi, a general inspector in the ministry of electricity in al Qadisiyah neighborhood in west Baghdad. Sadi’s son Mustafa and his wife were injured. The explosions damaged their car.

#4: A civilian was injured by a roadside bomb in Kasra neighborhood in east Baghdad.

#5: Two members of the national police were injured by two roadside bomb in Doura neighborhood in south Baghdad around 5 p.m.

#6: Police found the corpses of 15 bodies who were buried in an under construction house in Ur neighborhood in east Baghdad.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Three women from the same displaced family were wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near their home in western Baaquba city on Tuesday, a police source in Diala said. “An IED went off near the house of a displaced family in the area of al-Katoun, (3 km) western Baaquba, leaving three women wounded,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#1: A total of 21 anti-shield cluster bombs were defused in western Karbala, the commander of the civil defense said on Tuesday. “Civil defense forces defused 21 anti-shield cluster bombs in a farm in al-Harr region in the west of Karbala,” Colonel Hussein Mansour told Aswat al-Iraq. “The forces found the bombs after receiving intelligence information from local residents,” he added. He did not add further details.

#1: A militant accidentally blew himself up planting a roadside bomb on Monday in central Baiji, 180 km (120 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Two others were wounded.

#1: Five militants were killed and three others wounded in a four hour gunbattle between al Qaeda fighters and a U.S.-backed Sunni Arab security patrol near Samarra, 100 km (62 miles) north of Baghdad, said Samarra police Colonel Abdul-Khaleq Saleh al-Samarraie.

#1: One civilian man was killed and four others wounded when a car bomb went off in a village in the district of Sinjar on Tuesday, a security source in Ninewa province said. “A car bomb ripped through a fuel station in the district of Sinjar, (120 km) west of Mosul city, leaving one civilian killed and four others wounded,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

A civilian was killed and ten others were wounded by a parked car bomb west of Mosul city on Tuesday morning.

#2: A bomb detonated in east Mosul city on Tuesday morning. No casualties were reported.

#1: Air raids against suspected hideout of Taliban militants left 20 dead in Paktika province of eastern Afghanistan on Monday, provincial governor Mohammad Akram Khapalwak told Xinhua. "The U.S.-led Coalition forces carried out air attacks against Taliban rebels in Barmal district on Monday evening killing 20 insurgents on the spot," Khapalwak said. He also added that the air strike took place after the insurgents raided the camp of a road construction company and the international troops in retaliation called in air power and resultantly killed 20 rebels.

#2: In another development also on Monday, militants killed six soldiers, one of them beheaded, in the western Farah province, a senior military officer in west Afghanistan Fazal Ahmad Sayar said. During the two-hour battle erupted in Bala Buluk district on Monday, five soldiers were killed and five others sustained injures and the rebels beheaded one soldier after injuring him, Sayar further stressed. He also added that the troops inflicted casualties on the militants but could not give an exact figure.

Separately, insurgents in the western Farah province ambushed an Afghan army supply convoy, killing five troops and wounding five others, said Gen. Fazludin Sayar, the army commander for the western region.

#3: A security official was killed and four others were injured when Pakistan's security forces continued their offensive against militants in northwestern Pakistan's Swat valley on Tuesday, local television reported. The local militants ambushed a convoy of the security forces in Kabal area of Swat valley in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), killing one security official and injuring four others, private Geo TV channel said.

#4: NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan fired 20 artillery rounds at insurgents inside Pakistan after coordinating with Islamabad, officials said Tuesday. The military alliance said it fired the rounds after insurgents attacked its troops in Afghanistan's eastern Paktika province with rockets from across the border on Sunday. "The artillery fire caused a secondary explosion at the rocket launch site, which indicates additional munitions in the location," the NATO statement said. The Pakistani military confirmed the two sides coordinated in an attack on insurgents in Pakistan but provided no other details.

#5: Taliban militants attacked Pakistani tribal leaders near the Afghan border, triggering a gunbattle and an explosion that killed seven people, an official said Tuesday. The clash happened late Monday in Bajur, a lawless region in Pakistan's northwest where troops and tribal militias have been battling Taliban guerrillas for more than three months. Israr Khan, a government representative in the semi-autonomous region, said Taliban gunmen surrounded a group of elders from the Mamund tribe in a fortress-like compound in the village of Inayat Kili. An hourslong gunbattle between the two sides killed a commander of the Taliban fighters as well as two guards in the compound, Khan said. Four elders also died when an explosion hit the compound, he said. It was unclear what caused the blast.

Casualty Reports:

Pfc. Tyler Smith didn't expect to wake up in a Black Hawk helicopter on Friday but he did, and he was alive. During the weekend, the convoy he was traveling with in Iraq crossed an improvised explosive device planted in the road. According to Smith's friends and family, his vehicle was leading the convoy, being the first to run over the IED, causing the front end to explode and flipping the entire vehicle over while enduring enemy fire at the same time. "My whole right side feels like a kick boxer had his way on me and my arm and hand are scratched up from the blast and the shrapnel," he wrote.

Nathan S. Short, 26, On April 20, 2004, Short’s squad was traveling from a port in Iraq to Truckville.“We were told (beforehand) that camel herders got paid a reward if they sent their animals (onto the roadways) in front of American vehicles,” Short told those attending the NIC conference. Just as Short’s convoy crossed the border into Kuwait, a camel, likely one sent purposefully onto the road, was suddenly hit by a lead vehicle.As the struck animal ran up the road, it sent the entire convoy into a state of disarray, resulting in Short’s vehicle colliding with a trailer in front, crushing the cab of the truck in which Short was riding.When fellow soldiers rushed to assist Short as he lay injured on the road, he complained to them about having to lay on stones.Later, he found out the “stones” were bone fragments in his back.Short’s injuries were so severe, he was flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where his condition was considered so bad the army was considering flying his family over to allow them to say their goodbyes, Short stated. Short sustained injuries to his intestines, wrist, foot and ankle, and a rod was implanted in his legs and pins were placed in his ankle.