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, January 31, 2009

War News for Saturday, January 31, 2009

The British MoD is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier during small arms fire north of Musa Qaleh, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Friday, January 30th.

Jan. 29 airpower summary:

No Injuries Reported in Iraqi Elections:

Iraqis vote behind barbed wire:

Translators fear death if US hands over personal details to Iraq Govt.:

Afghan contractors may have killed Canadian soldier: report:

US-funded program to arm Afghan groups begins:

No Renewal for Blackwater's Iraq Deal:

After Promising Quick Iraq Withdrawal, Obama Works Through Details:

General Says Shoot Dealers in Afghanistan:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A shooting has occurred in Baghdad during provincial elections. Ghufran al-Saidi, a Shiite lawmaker in the Sadr City district, says a military officer opened fire Saturday after voters chanted slogans at a polling station. He says two people were injured, one of them seriously. Iraq's military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, told Al-Arabiya television that one person was killed and one injured after some people tried to carry mobile phones through security cordons. The reason for the conflicting accounts was not immediately clear.

One civilian on Saturday was wounded while he was entering a polling center in eastern Baghdad, according to a local security source. “The civilian was wounded while he was entering Sulaiman al-Khazaie polling center in Sadr city, eastern Baghdad, in an attack launched by gunmen from the top of a nearby building,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

One civilians was killed and another was injured in a tribal fight after a car accident in Sadr city in east Baghdad on Saturday morning.

#1: In Tikrit, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, three mortar shells exploded near a polling station, but caused no casualties, said police, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

Four mortars on Saturday landed consecutively near three electoral centers in central and western Tirkit city, causing no casualties, according to a police source. “This morning, two mortar shells fell near an electoral center on al-Arbaen Street, downtown Tikrit, causing no casualties; while a third mortar fell on Pasha Street, western Tikrit; and a fourth near the vegetables’ market in the center of the city,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. The fourth mortar caused damage to nearby shops and houses, according to the source.

A mortar shell on Saturday fell on a polling center in northern Tikrit, causing no casualties, the fifth of its kind in the city today, according to a local security source. “A mortar hit Omar Ibn Jandoub Center in Tikrit’s northern neighborhood of al-Qadissiya,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#2: A bomb found near a Tikrit voting center was defused, police added.

Tuz Khurmato:
#1: Six policemen and a civilian were wounded in a bomb attack in a town north of Baghdad on Saturday as the nation was voting in provincial elections, police said. The attack took place in the main street of Tuz Khurmatu.

Police forces on Saturday killed one civilian in Touz Khormato in gun shooting that erupted after a roadside bomb wounded seven policemen, said the suburb’s mayor. “Police forces today opened fire after a roadside bomb targted their patrol vehicle near the silo, central Touz Khormato,” Mohammed Rasheed told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “Seven policemen were wounded in the explosion,” he said.“One civilian was killed in the shooting,” he added.

#1: The U.S. military says one of its soldiers has been wounded and an Iraqi is dead after a shooting incident in an industrial city north of Baghdad. The military says one Iraqi has been detained after the incident, which occurred Friday in the city of Beiji, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of the capital. A statement by the military's media office gave no further details but residents said the shooting occurred when a young Iraqi man opened fire on a U.S. foot patrol.

An Iraqi insurgent shot dead a U.S. soldier and wounded another at a town in Salahudin province on Friday, a provincial police source said. "Osama Hashim, a young man fetched his AK-47 assault rifle from his house and opened fire in the afternoon on U.S. soldiers who dismounted their patrol's vehicles in front of his house in the town of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The U.S. soldiers fired back and killed Hashim before they stormed his house and detained his brother inside, the source said. The reason behind the incident is unknown yet, the source added. A U.S. military statement confirmed the incident, but said that one of its soldiers has been injured and an Iraqi is dead after shooting incident in Baiji.

#1: The U.S. military says two Iraqi policemen were killed after they opened fire on U.S. soldiers conducting an operation against al-Qaida near the northern city of Mosul. A U.S. statement says the incident began when U.S. soldiers entered a neighborhood looking for a suspected al-Qaida operative who was believed to be in a building. The statement says the soldiers began taking fire from a separate building and after identifying themselves fired back. U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police entered the house and found two Iraqi policemen in civilian clothes had been killed in the exchange.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: A roadside bomb hit a Pakistani army convoy near a Taliban stronghold, killing three soldiers and wounding another six, the army said Saturday. Assailants detonated the bomb Friday evening as the convoy rolled through a village near the Swat valley, an army spokesman said. He requested anonymity, citing policy.

Casualty Reports:

Jeff Pcola, 44, was wounded in Baghdad in 2003 when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the vehicle he was in. He now has steel plates in his body because of his neck and hip injuries.

British Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson suffered brain damage, lost both legs and received a series of other injuries in a landmine explosion in Helmand province in 2006. He is one of the most seriously injured servicemen to survive. But now, after years of gruelling rehabilitation, the paratrooper has succeeded in walking on artificial legs at the Ministry of Defence’s Headley Court rehabilitation centre, near Epsom, Surrey. But he will face another battle in April, two-and-a-half years after he was injured, when he is due to undergo back surgery to rectify curvature of the spine caused by damaged vertebrae. Doctors were unable to operate because his condition was so serious. Now they plan to either support his spine, or remove the affected vertebrae completely in what Mrs Dernie termed a “massive” operation.

Scott Lilley is an airman who suffered serious head injuries in Iraq nearly two years ago (07).

Marine Cpl. Joshua Hoffman, 26, was paralyzed from the chest down when he was hit by a sniper's bullet in Iraq in January 2007. A bullet pierced his neck and exited his shoulder blade, shattering his upper spine as it went through. He spent more than a year in a Virginia Veterans Administration hospital before coming home in March 2008.