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, February 19, 2009

War News for Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feb. 17 airpower summary:

Feb. 16 airpower summary:

U.S. contractors refuse to ID Iraqi translators; 300 killed since 2003:

Kyrgyzstan parliament votes to close key U.S. air base: Deputies voted 78-1 for the government-backed bill to cancel the lease agreement on the Manas air base, a transit point for 15,000 troops and 500 tons of cargo each month to and from Afghanistan. Two deputies abstained. If President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signs the bill and Kyrgyz authorities issue an eviction notice, the United States will have 180 days to vacate the base.

General Sees Long Term for Afghanistan Buildup:

No more Norwegian troops to Afghanistan:

Russian flour reaches Afghanistan under new aid program:

FT: Afghan donations fall billions short:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A roadside bomb detonated in Karadat Mariam neighborhood in downtown Baghdad around 1 p.m. Three people were injured.

#2: A roadside bomb targeted the convoy of Adel Abdul Mahdi’s guards near the Masbah intersection in Karrada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad around 1:30 p.m. Eight people were wounded including four guards.

#3: Four civilians were wounded on Thursday in a bomb explosion in central Baghdad, the spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command said. “A locally-made bomb, left by unknown man near a popular restaurant in al-Salihiya region in central Baghdad, went off, injuring four civilians,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Diyala Prv:
#1: An Iraqi army soldier killed three of his colleagues and then committed suicide at a checkpoint to the south of Baaquba city, said a security source from Diala province’s police. “The soldier belongs to the Iraqi army 1st division,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “He was stationed at a checkpoint in al-Abara area of Bohroz district, 5 km south of Baaquba, where the incident took place,” he said. “The serviceman was hysterical when he committed this act,” he added.

Balad Ruz:
#1: Four Iraqi soldiers were killed and two were injured when a roadside bomb exploded in the restive province of Diyala on Thursday, a senior police officer told AFP. The attack took place in Balad Ruz, a town 70 kilometres (44 miles) northeast of Baghdad, said the officer, who asked not to be named. "Four Iraqi soldiers were killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb targetted their patrol," he said.

Khan Bani Saad:
#1: Iraqi army forces on Thursday found three bodies in a mass grave in a village in the south of Baaquba, an army source said. “Iraqi army forces found a mass grave containing three unidentified bodies in Abu Seif village in Bani Saad district in south of Baaquba,” Colonel Ali Mahmoud Mutaaeb told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. "The bodies, belong to three civilians, bore signs of gunshot wounds to the head and different parts of the body,” he added.

#1: A total of 14 unknown bodies were buried in a cemetery in Kirkuk on Thursday morning, a member of the Kirkuk provincial council said. “A specialized committee in Kirkuk started Thursday morning (Feb. 19) buring 14 unknown bodies, all males, in a cemetery in Naja Ali region in south of Kirkuk,” Jawad al-Janabi told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “They bodies spent more than 6 months in the morgue,” he noted.

#1: A policeman was killed and five people were wounded in a suicide car bomb explosion in southern Mosul, a security source said on Thursday. “A suicide bomber blew up a car crammed with explosives on Thursday morning (Feb. 19) targeting a police vehicle patrol in Wadi Hagar region in southern Mosul, killing one policeman and injuring five, including three civilians,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “Police found the remains of a body believed to belong to the attacker inside the car,” he added.

#2: An off-duty Iraqi soldier was shot dead in central Mosul, police said.

#3: A policeman was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#4: Gunmen killed the owner of a shop in western Mosul, police said.

#5: Gunmen killed a man and stole his car in central Mosul, police said.

#6: A policeman was wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol in western Mosul, police said.

#7: A roadside bomb wounded a civilian when it exploded near a police patrol in Mosul, police said.

#8: A combined force of the Iraqi army and police on Thursday defused a car bomb in eastern Mosul, said a security source from Ninewa province’s police. “The booby-trapped car was parked in al-Methaq neighborhood, eastern Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “The car bomb was defused without any casualties,” he said.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: A roadside bomb near a police station killed a policeman and wounded one person in the town of Garma, 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Gunmen killed a Pakistani television reporter Wednesday hours after he covered a peace march led by a hard-line cleric aimed at convincing militants in the Swat Valley to lay down their weapons under a pact with the government, the victim's employer said. It was unclear who shot Geo television's Musa Khan Khel. Khel's body was found close to the town of Matta several hours after he had left the rest of his crew without telling them where he was going, said Azhar Abbas, the managing director of Geo, Pakistan's most popular news channel. He had been shot several times in his upper body, and his throat was partly slit, Abbas said, refusing to speculate on a motive for the crime.

#2: A bomb planted by insurgents struck the car of an Indian engineer in Khost province east of Afghanistan Thursday, killing a local guard and wounding two others including the engineer, police said. "The gruesome incident occurred in Dumanda district on Khost--Gerdez highway at 12:30 p.m. local time, as a result the Indian engineer along with one of his guards were injured and another guard was killed," provincial police chief Abdul Qayum Baqizoi told Xinhua. He further added that the Indian engineer works for a road construction company involved in building roads in east Afghanistan.

#3: A would-be suicide bomber who was trying to target a US military convoy in Kabul was arrested by Afghan security forces. The would-be bomber was arrested in the Company area, located on western outskirts of Kabul city, on Wednesday as he was trying to target a convoy of US military forces which was passing by the area, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The man was driving a Toyota Surf vehicle, loaded with 170 kilograms of explosive, two cylinders filled with ten kilograms of gas and three litres of petrol, the statement said.

#4: Meanwhile, three militants were killed in Kajaki district of the southern province of Helmand on Wednesday when a bomb they were trying to plant on a road in the district exploded prematurely, an Interior Ministry statement said.

#5: Separately, four insurgents were killed in a fight with Afghan army forces in Panjwayee district of the southern province of Kandahar on Wednesday, the Defence Ministry said in a statement. Army forces seized ten tractors that Taliban insurgents had stolen from local villagers in the province, it said, adding that the militants were using the tractors to dig tunnels and build military fortifications.

#6: Three guards hired by NATO security forces were shot dead Thursday. It was not clear who shot the three men working for NATO security forces in the eastern province of Khost, provincial government spokesman Kuchai Nasiri said.

#7: Also in Khost, a boys' school was torched overnight, provincial education director Sayed Musa Majroh said, blaming the attack on Taliban, who are said to have destroyed scores of schools in this manner.