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, January 15, 2009

War News for Thursday, January 15, 2009

The British MoD is reporting the deaths of two British ISAF service members from an explosion north east of Gereshk, central Helmand province on Wednesday, January 14th.

Jan. 13 airpower summary:

U.N. compound ablaze in Gaza fighting: Fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in Gaza City set part of a U.N. relief agency's central storehouse for humanitarian aid ablaze, its director said Thursday. --He said staffers identified the source of the fires as white phosphorous shells, whose use is restricted under international law.

Rights group: 40 medics in burning Gaza hospital: Some 40 medical personnel were 'trapped' inside a hospital in the Gaza Strip, after it was apparently hit by shells and set ablaze on Thursday, an Israeli medical group said.

Explosion hits media offices in Gaza: An explosion blasted a tower block in the city of Gaza that houses the offices of Reuters and other media organisations on Thursday, forcing an evacuation and disrupting coverage of increasingly fierce fighting.

White House Finds 14 Million Missing E-Mails, DOJ Lawyer Says:

Oil tankers are going nowhere — slowly: --off topic

WFP says Iraq operation near fully funded, thanks to huge iraqi government donation:

The last, tortured days of King George:

Bush in wonderland:

Rounding up the toys at the George W. Bush Memorial Sandbox:

UK foreign minister urges rethink of "war on terror":

Three international aid workers kidnapped in S Philippines:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Iraq's minister of higher education escaped injury Thursday when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy in central Baghdad, police said. The minister, Abed Theyab, was traveling to work Thursday morning when the blast occurred in the Karradah district of eastern Baghdad, the police said. No one in the convoy was hurt but three civilian bystanders were wounded, they added.

#2: A government security guard was killed and four people were wounded in another blast. In the other attack, the security guard died when a bomb exploded on Nidal Street near Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, police reported. The target was believed to have been a convoy of employees of the Housing Ministry.

#1: Gunmen in a speeding car killed a man on Wednesday near his house in the city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Police found one dead body in Wadi Egab cemetery on Wednesday.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: A top Afghan army general was killed Thursday in a helicopter crash in western Afghanistan, the Defense Ministry said. Gen. Fazaludin Sayar was one of the Afghan army's four regional commanders, in charge of the entire west of the country. The MI-17 craft hit bad weather in the morning and went down in the Adraskan district of Herat province, the ministry said in a statement. All 12 others aboard were also killed, the statement said. The helicopter had been headed to neighboring Farah province.

#2: A militant killed and two others injured during security forces operation continued against militant in different parts of Swat.According to sources, a militant was killed and two others injured during security forces action in Charbagh area while Kanju-Kabal Road has been closed for traffic. Meanwhile, exchange of fire between security forces and militants underway in Kot area of tehsil Charbagh whereas security forces pounding militants positions in tehsil Kabal and Matta and Manglore area of Mingora.

#3: Six insurgents died while attempting to plant a mine on a road in Trenkut in Urozgan, Afghanistan, the Interior Ministry said in an official statement.

#4: An Afghan contractor, who worked on road construction projects for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), was found murdered three days after being kidnapped by insurgents in Kapisa Province, some 80 km north from capital city of Kabul, said an ISAF statement released here on Thursday. "The local-national contractor was kidnapped on Jan. 6. During his captivity, he was shot three times and killed. Afghan police found the contractor's body hanging from a tree near Feroza district on Jan. 9," the statement said. "The contractor was part of a road construction project in the Afghanya valley of Kapisa."

#5: A truck supplying logistics to foreign troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan blew up when explosives went off in the vehicle in Maidan Wardak. Spokesman for the Governor of Maidan Wardak Adam Khan Serat told the media that the explosion occurred in early hours of the day. The blast partially damaged the vehicle. No one was hurt.

#6: Two paramilitary soldiers were killed and four wounded in a roadside bomb blast Thursday in a Pakistani tribal area known as a stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, an official said. The incident took place in South Waziristan, an area on the border with Afghanistan. "An explosion caused by a remote-controlled bomb planted along the roadside in the Machan Babar area killed two soldiers as a Frontier Corps vehicle passed by," a security official told AFP.

Casualty Reports:

Sgt. Jeremy Cicolino, 23, reports his injuries are healing and he says he's up and walking at Ramstein Air Force Base where he was transported. His special weapons unit was hit by an IED last week outside a small village in Afghanistan where they were screening for the explosives. "He's still got some hearing problems. He was that close to the blast," she said. "That's something that should heal itself." "The tingling in his arms and other places should go away," she said army officials and nurses told her. He told his mother several of his fellow soldiers were injured and some were killed.