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

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

War News for Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Photo: A truck lies on a bridge that was destroyed Tuesday by Islamic militants in Pakistan’s Khyber Pass. The bridge in northwest Pakistan is a major supply line for Western troops in Afghanistan, a NATO spokesman said. The attack was the latest by insurgents seeking to hamper the U.S.-led mission against the Taliban. (Click on photo for larger view)

Feb. 2 airpower summary:

Reports: Kyrgyzstan to close key U.S. base:

Armored trucks on double duty: There were a record 3,276 attacks from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2008. Those attacks killed 161 coalition troops and wounded 722

Media group says at least 109 journalists killed on assignment in 2008:

US plan to arm militias scares some in Afghanistan:

British soldier arrested in Afghanistan: A British soldier has been arrested in Afghanistan over an alleged breach of the country's Official Secrets Act, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London said on Wednesday.

Pentagon study: US should pare Afghanistan goals:

Humvee vulnerabilities were long know:

Iraqi death researcher censured:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Two civilians were wounded Wednesday in a roadside bomb explosion in central Baghdad, said a police source.“An explosive charge, planted by unknown gunmen on the road near Borg al-Haya hotel in Karada in central Baghdad, went off, injuring two civilians,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#2: A bomb struck the car of the leader of an Awakening Council group in western Baghdad on Wednesday, wounding him and killing his son, a well-informed police source said. An explosive charge stuck to the car of Hikmat al-Tikriti, head of the Awakening Council group of Baghdad's western district of Yarmouk, detonated around 3:00 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The blast took place in the nearby neighborhood of Dawoodi, wounding Tikriti and killing his son, the source said. Three bystanders were also wounded by the blast, the source added.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Six Sahwa fighters were wounded in an improvised explosive device explosion in northeast of Baaquba, said a police source on Wednesday. “An explosive charge went off late Tuesday (Feb. 4) in al-Wehda region in Muqdadiya district, northeast of Baaquba, injuring six Sahwa fighters,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “Two of the six were in a serious condition,” he explained.

#2: Nine policemen on Wednesday were wounded when an explosive charge went off in front of a police station in northern Muqdadiya district, according to a security source. “On Wednesday, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in front of a police station in Nofil area (45 km northeast of Baaquba), wounding nine cops, including three who remain in critical condition,” a local police source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: Policemen on Wednesday found three mass graves in north of Baaquba, according to a security source. “Police forces found three mass graves in the gardens of Albu Teaama village in al-Salam district in Khalis in north of Baaquba, the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.“The graves contain six decayed and beheaded bodies,” he added.

#1: Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire and wounded a civilian in central Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A parked car bomb targeting a police patrol wounded two people in northern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Two civilians on Wednesday were wounded in a car bomb blast in Mosul city, according to a police source. “A roadside car bomb targeted a police patrol vehicle, wounding two persons in al-Ziraie neighborhood, northern Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.“The two civilians, who were inside their house, were wounded by flying glass from windows,” the source noted, providing no further details.

#2: One civilian on Wednesday was wounded by random U.S. fire in downtown Mosul, an incident denied by a U.S. army media adviser. “On Wednesday, a civilian was wounded by a U.S. patrol opened random fire in al-Sarjkhana area, downtown Mosul, in response to a hand grenade attack by a gunman,” a security source in Ninewa police told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. Speaking to Aswat al-Iraq news agency by phone, a media adviser for the U.S. forces, al-Muqdad Jibrael, denied the incident, saying that no U.S. patrol vehicle has opened fire in the concerned area.

#3: According to the same source, another explosive charge targeted a police patrol in Bab al-Toub area, downtown Mosul, causing no casualties. The explosion occurred only 200 m from the building of Mosul’s provincial council, the source explained.

#4: A civilian was wounded by a grenade thrown at a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said. It said the Americans returned fire at the assailant.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: At least five employees of an Indian company, an Indian included, were injured Wednesday morning when a remote-controlled bomb went off in eastern Afghanistan, the authorities said. Dawurat Khan Qayumi, an Afghan official, said the incident occurred at 8.30 a.m. in Ismael Khil district of Khost province when a vehicle of the Indian road construction company was hit in the blast. “So far at least four Afghan employees along with one Indian national were injured,” Qayumi added.

#2: In the latest attack, the suspected militants raided the lorry park during the night, tied down the guards and set the vehicles on fire after sprinkling petrol on them, witnesses said. No casualties were reported. Eight container lorries and a number of other vehicles were gutted near Landikotal, the main town in the Khyber tribal region, officials said. The empty lorries had returned after delivering supplies. The arson attack followed Tuesday's explosion at the key 30m (100 ft) iron bridge 23km (15 miles) west of Peshawar.

#3: Meanwhile, militants fired at least five rockets at a paramilitary fort in the same region on Tuesday night but no casualties were reported.

#4: Taliban militants kidnapped 30 Pakistani policemen after a punishing day-long siege, in an embarrassing blow Wednesday for the army battling to win back control of the Swat valley. The abduction, carried out at night when police and army reinforcements had suspended efforts to break the siege, underscores the huge challenges facing the security services. Thousands of Taliban besieged a police station in the area of Shamozai on Tuesday. The army was mobilised to rescue the police and break the circle of rebels, security officials said. Clashes continued throughout the day but as dusk fell, the operation was suspended. Then, overnight, the Taliban broke into the office, kidnapped the officers and blew up the building, said Swat police chief Dilawar Khan. Khan said the rebels kidnapped 30 policemen. A Pakistani intelligence official based in the northwest city of Peshawar said that four paramilitary and police officers had been wounded in clashes with Taliban militants at the station.

Pakistani Taliban released on Wednesday 29 paramilitary soldiers and policemen they captured in a raid on a police station in the Swat valley in the northwest of the country, two of the captured men said.

#5: In a related development, security and intelligence officials said that 50 militants were killed in military operations across the area from late Monday to Tuesday. The death tolls are impossible to verify independently with the sprawling region effectively sealed off from the outside world.

#6: In Peshawar city itself, police killed eight Taliban militants in a clash Wednesday that also wounded two policemen, security officials said.

Casualty Reports:

Robert Andrezjcak, 22, was wounded Jan. 7 during a patrol in Bayji, Iraq. As his company turned a corner during a patrol, an insurgent threw a grenade that exploded on the last vehicle, occupied by Andrezjcak and other soldiers. Shrapnel from the explosion injured seven passengers, including gunner Andrezjcak whose legs were injured and required removing the leg up to the knee. Injured soldiers reacted with aid to save him. All survived. “He had flash burns, it was pretty bad,” his father, Joe, told the Herald Jan. 29.