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 18, 2009

War News for Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feb. 15 airpower summary:

1,075 Canadians injured or killed in Afghanistan:

Obama orders 17,000 more troops into Afghanistan:

Iran says it has built unmanned aircraft: A top Iranian defense official says the country has built an unmanned surveillance aircraft with a range of more than 600 miles.

Six months in Afghanistan: (video/interactive/and audio slideshow)

Latvia prepares to ship supplies to US forces in Afghanistan:

Analysis: Poles, Czechs fear loss of US bases:

Italy to send more troops to Afghanistan: Italy is ready to increase its military force in Afghanistan by about 500 to nearly 3,000 troops, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Wednesday.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Gunmen in a car shot dead an official of a Sunni Arab party in front of his Baghdad home on Wednesday, a colleague in the Iraqi Islamic Party said. Samir Safwat, a 55-year-old Trade Ministry employee, was gunned down in the southern district of Zafraniyah, said lawmaker Omar Abdel Sattar, adding that the assailants fled.

#2: A gunman shot an RPG missile at a military barracks located in an unoccupied school in Sadr city, northeastern Baghdad at 9 p.m. Tuesday killing one soldier and injuring four others.

#1: An Iraqi military official says a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims has collided with a British military vehicle on the outskirts of Basra, killing seven of the travelers. Maj. Gen. Mohammed Jawad Huwaidi says 27 pilgrims were injured in the accident late Tuesday night. Huwaidi, the top military official in Basra, says the pilgrims were coming from the Shiite holy city of Karbala. A British Defense Ministry spokesman says the military vehicle was on a routine night patrol outside Basra when a bus drove into the back of it.

#1: Major-General Salahuddin Rasheed, commander of an Iraqi military division, was lightly wounded when a roadside bomb struck his convoy just south of Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, said Mohammed Anwar, a police captain in Tikrit. Five of the officer's bodyguards were also wounded.

#1: An explosive charge exploded on Wednesday (Feb. 18) near a cotton ginnery on the Kirkuk-Baghdad road on southwest of Kirkuk while a police vehicle patrol was passing,” Colonel Kamel Ahmed told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.“The explosion left no casualties but destroyed a military vehicle,” he added.

#2: Another bomb exploded near the same region, without casualties,” he also said.

#1: One Christian civilian on Tuesday was killed when he came under fire by unknown gunmen’ in al-Midan neighborhood, Mosul city, according to a reliable source. “The victim was targeted by unidentified armed men near to the location of his work,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. The source explained that the deceased victim was with his colleague when they both came under gunmen’s fire, and that the other victim was wounded and is currently in critical and unstable condition at hospital.

#2: An Iraqi soldier was wounded on Tuesday in a bomb explosion in eastern Mosul city, an Iraqi army source said. “An improvised explosive device went off on Tuesday (Feb. 17) targeting Iraqi army vehicles patrols of the 3rd brigade in al-Tahrir neighborhood in eastern Mosul, injuring a soldier,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#3: A policeman was injured on Tuesday in a sticky bomb explosion in south of Mosul, according t a police source. “An improvised explosive device stuck to a private car, went off in Hamam al-Aleel district in south of Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “The explosion led to cutting off one of the cop’s legs,” he added.

#4: A civilian was killed on Tuesday by unknown gunmen in west of Mosul city, a police source said. “Unknown gunmen shot and killed a civilian on Tuesday (Feb. 17) at the center of a market in Tal Abta district in west of Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. He gave no further details.

#5: A policeman was killed on Wednesday in a roadside bomb explosion in western Mosul, a police source said. “An improvised explosive device went off Wednesday (Feb. 18) targeting a police vehicle patrol in Souq al-Maash region in western Mosul, killing a policeman and damaging the vehicle,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Taliban-led insurgents fighting the Afghan government set on fire a school and one clinic in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday. The militia in the first attack raided a primary school in Gobuz district of Khost province late last night, setting it ablaze and destroyed it, the police chief of the district, Bismillah Khan told Xinhua.

#2: Militants also burned a health clinic in Watapor district of Kunar province, a health official in the province Assadullah told Xinhua. The building, constructed recently, was burnt to rubble, he official further said.

#3: provincial spokesman said Wednesday that Taliban militants killed two male students for greeting a group of NATO soldiers in central Afghanistan, but the rebel website said they were executed for spying. Ahmad Khalid, 20, and Eid Gul, 19, students at a high school in Sayed Abad district of the central province of Wardak, greeted a group of NATO soldiers passing by their village in a convoy, according to Adam Khan Serat, spokesman for the provincial governor. 'The boys only greeted the foreign soldiers and spoke a few words in English with them,' Serat said. 'The Taliban militants later came and took the boys to an unknown location.' Their bodies were dumped near their homes in Sangi village, he said.

#4: The unmanned Predator aircrafts which have been targeting militant hideouts along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border are being operated from an airbase in southern Pakistan, a Times report has revealed. “Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is secretly using an airbase in southern Pakistan to launch the Predator drones that observe and attack al-Qaeda and Taleban militants on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan,” the Times said. The revelation is in complete contrast with Islamabad’s claims that it had never allowed its airbases to be used by the US led forces. Disclosing the details of the airbase, the report said that the CIA has been using the Shamsi airfield, which is about 30 miles from the Afghanistan border, for at least a year now. Shamsi, Pakistan

#4: U.S. forces killed at least one child, video footage obtained by Reuters on Wednesday showed, in an air strike in western Afghanistan that police say killed 12 civilians and U.S. forces said killed 16 militants. Video taken in the Gozara district of Herat province in the aftermath of the attack on Monday showed mangled, unrecognisable clumps of flesh -- all that remained of several people and dozens of animals killed in a tented nomad encampment. One body that was recognisable was that of a young boy. "The information we have is 12 civilians, including six women, four men and two children have been killed in the bombardment," General Ikramuddin Yawar, chief of police in western Afghanistan told Reuters. The Afghan Defence Ministry said "seven terrorists" were among "several civilians" killed in the strike.