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 25, 2009

War News for Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a U.S. Soldier in a small arms fire attack in at an Iraqi Police station in Mosul, Ninewa Province on Monday, February 24th. An Iraqi interpreter was killed and three other soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were wounded in the attack.

The British MoD is reporting the deaths of three British ISAF soldiers from an IED attack in the Gereshk district, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Wednesday, February 25th. No other details were released. Here's the official ISAF statement.

Feb. 23 airpower summary:

Gen. Petraeus picked to lead U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan:

Commentary: Bush and Cheney hyped the terrorist threat:

Officials: Most troops out of Iraq in 18 months:

Obama Expected to Set Date for Iraq Pullout:

Reports: Uzbekistan, NATO reach Afghanistan deal: Uzbekistan has reached an agreement with NATO allowing the alliance to send non-military supplies through the Central Asian nation en route to Afghanistan, news agencies quoted the Uzbek president as saying Wednesday. A U.S. military official last week said a tentative agreement had been reached, but there had been no confirmation until the statement by President Islam Karimov, which was reported by the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies.

New Zealand military commitment to Afghanistan extended:

Germany to send additional 600 troops to Afghanistan:

Taliban Accepts Pakistan Cease-Fire:

Why we went to war in Iraq remains a secret as Straw blocks the release of cabinet minutes:

Study Notes Brain Injuries To Fort Lewis Soldiers: A study conducted at Fort Lewis found mild traumatic brain injury in 15 percent to 25 percent of the soldiers deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Security forces arrested 25 persons and defused eight roadside bombs in Baghdad during the last 24 hours, according to the official spokesperson of Baghdad Operations Command (BOC).

#2: A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Illam neighborhood in southwest Baghdad around 7 p.m. Six people were wounded including two policemen.

Al Rashad:
#1: Four civilians, including three oil company personnel, on Wednesday were kidnapped by unknown gunmen in southwestern Kirkuk, according to a local police chief. “This afternoon, unknown gunmen kidnapped four civilians, including three employees from the North Oil Company, while they were heading home in al-Rashad neighborhood (35 km southwest of Kirkuk city),” Brig. Sarhad Qadir told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: Gunmen killed a prominent businessman after riddling him with bullets in his car in the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, on Tuesday night, police said.

#1: One civilian was wounded when gunmen launched an attack using grenades in central Mosul, a source from Ninewa police said on Wednesday. “The attack took place on the crowded al-Korneash street, central Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “Gunmen threw three grenades during the attack,” he said. “The wounded civilian works as a lawyer,” he added.

Gunmen threw a grenade at a police patrol at the Kornish street in downtown Mosul. Two people were wounded.

#2: Police opened fire at a suspected suicide car bomber near a check point in Bashiqa in northeast of Mosul around 3:30 p.m. The car was detonated and the suicide bomber was killed.

#3: Three mortar shells on Wednesday fell on a hospital in southeastern Mosul city, wounding one civilian, according a local police chief. “On Wednesday evening, three mortars targeted al-Salam Hospital, where the 2 nd division of the local police is stationed, in al-Wahda neighborhood, southeastern Mosul,” the official told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “Two of the mortars landed inside the hospital’s perimeter, while a third landed in a nearby street,” the official explained, providing no further details.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Afghan National Army (ANA) backed by U.S.- led coalition forces killed 10 armed militants in Shaheed Hasas district of Uruzgan province in south of Afghanistan Tuesday, a joint press release of U.S. military and Afghan army said on Wednesday. "The combined elements were conducting a routine patrol when they came under small arms, mortar and fire from an unknown number of militants. The forces returned fire killing one militant," the press release said.

#2: Afghan soldiers killed 18 militants targeting a poppy eradication force in the country's volatile south, officials said Wednesday. Two soldiers were also killed in the battle. The clash in the Nawa district of Helmand province broke out after insurgents fired on police working to rid the countryside of poppy plants, from which opium is made, said Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for the governor. Afghan and international soldiers were protecting the eradication force when it was attacked Tuesday, and two foreign soldiers were wounded in the exchange, said Ahmadi. He did not provide the soldiers' nationalities.

Heavy fighting erupted in the neighbouring province of Helmand late Tuesday when gunmen attacked Afghan soldiers protecting police who were destroying illegal opium crops, the provincial government said. "Eighteen militants were killed and two Afghan army soldiers were martyred," provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi told AFP. Two Westerners training the counternarcotics team were also wounded in fighting, he said.

#3: In neighboring Kandahar province, meanwhile, a remote control bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded Wednesday in Kandahar city as a convoy of soldiers was passing, said army commander Sher Mohammad Zazai. Two Afghan bystanders were killed, and eight people — including five soldiers — were wounded, he said.

In Kandahar city, explosives fixed to a motorbike were detonated remotely as an Afghan army convoy passed, said the regional army commander, General Shair Mohammad Zazai. Two civilians were killed and three wounded, while five Afghan soldiers were hurt, he told AFP.

#4: Taliban insurgents opened fire on a foreign convoy killing several civilians in the Sangin district, some 490 (305 miles) southwest of Kabul on Monday, a joint statement by NATO and the Afghan governor's office said.

#5: A father and three sons were shot dead by unknown gunmen in southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday night, local newspaper reported on Wednesday. Ghulab Shah, a hardware trader, was traveling home with his six sons when four gunmen ambushed his car on the high-security Sariab Road of Quetta, capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province, Daily Times newspaper quoted police as saying. Shah and three of his sons died instantly, while the other two were seriously injured.

#6: Afghan troops and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) launched operation against Taliban insurgents in Jalrez district of Afghanistan's central Wardak province, a statement of the alliance released here Wednesday said. "ISAF and Afghan National Security forces begun a joint operation against insurgents earlier today in Jalrez district of Central Wardak province," the statement said. This is the first offensive of the international troops launched in Wardak province over the past one year.

Casualty Reports:

Master Sgt. John Souza was wounded in Iraq and spending months at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. Souza was injured after an I.E.D. exploded in an office he had been working in last June, during his second deployment to Iraq. "I did lose a fair amount of blood," he said. "I knew I was messed up because when I tried to get up I felt the leg just drop." Souza's left leg suffered the most damage. The explosion crushed and fractured several bones. He calls himself lucky, considering the other five people in the room did not survive.

Robert Andrzejczak, 22, is currently recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., after loosing much of his left leg during an insurgent attack in Iraq. Winfrey visited Walter Reed.

Specialist Jonathon N. James is recovering at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington from wounds he received in Afghanistan on Sept. 28, 2007. James suffered two penetrating shrapnel wounds to his left hand.