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

Friday, May 8, 2009

War News for Friday, May 08, 2009

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier from an IED attack near Sangin, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Thursday, May 7th. Here's the official NATO statement.

The British MoD is reporting the death of a second British ISAF soldier from small arms fire-gunshot wound in the vicinity of Woqab, close to Musa Qaleh, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Thursday, May 7th. Here's the official NATO statement.

The British MoD is reporting the deaths of two more British ISAF soldiers in a suicide bombing in Gereshk, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Thursday, April 7th. Here's the official NATO statement.

May 5 airpower summary:

Improving Surgical Care in Basra, Iraq: (Doctors Without Borders)

Ex-soldier convicted in Iraq rape, 4 slayings:

A giant US military base emerges in Afghanistan:

Iraqi Forces: Rebuilt and Stronger, but Still Stumbling:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Police forces on Friday found the body of a chieftain’s grandson in a garden in eastern Wassit, according to a security source. “The forces found on Friday (May 8) the body of a grandson of one of al-Khatawi tribe’s chieftains in a garden in the border district of Badra in east of Kut,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: A 12-year-old child was killed by U.S. soldiers’ random fire they opened after their patrol was targeted by a hand-grenade hurled by an unidentified gunman in western Mosul city on Thursday, police said. “The incident occurred in Ras al-Jadah area, western Mosul, when the U.S. military opened random fire at pedestrians,” a security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. He did not give further details. Aswat al-Iraq failed to contact the U.S. side for comments.

#2: Four people, including three policemen, were wounded when a car rigged with explosives went off in northeastern Mosul city on Friday, police said. “The roadside car bomb targeted an Iraqi police patrol in al-Rifaq neighborhood, northeastern Mosul, leaving four, including three policemen, wounded,” a local police source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Germany says 30 of its soldiers in Afghanistan are involved in an extended firefight with insurgents. Defense Ministry spokesman Thomas Raabe said the Germans called in support from Afghan forces after they came under fire near the city of Kunkuz on Thursday. He says that in the fighting Afghan forces killed four of the attackers, injured four and detained four more.Raabe said the fighting continued Friday and no Germans had been killed.

#2: Pakistan's offensive against Taliban militants in the country's northwest is overwhelming medical resources in the Swat Valley, hospital officials said Friday. Staff members from Mardan Medical Center have treated 2,124 patients from clashes between the Pakistani military and Taliban fighters in more than two weeks of fighting, according to Dr. Arshad Ahmed. Many had shrapnel wounds, he said. Pakistani officials have said they expect as many as 500,000 civilians to flee the Swat Valley as fighting -- now into a third week -- expands.

It said 150,000 to 200,000 Pakistanis had already fled the military's operation against Taliban militants over the last few days. Another 300,000 Pakistanis were on the move or expected to flee the fighting.

#3: Fighter jets and helicopter gunships pounded Taliban fighters in Swat Valley on Friday, and a Pakistani military official told CNN that more troops will join the 12,000 to 15,000 already in the region. Government aircraft attacked a militant position in Tehsil Kabbel, where the Taliban was occupying two girls' schools. Helicopter gunships fired on the buildings, killing up to 15 militants and critically injuring four others, said Maj. Naser Khan, a Pakistani military spokesman.

#4: Pakistani troops battled militants in Kanju after the Taliban attacked an outpost just across the Swat river. After a heavy exchange of fire between militants and government forces, Khan said, five "hard-core" militants -- including a commander named Akbar Ali -- were killed.

#5: Two Polish soldiers were wounded during the attack on a patrol near Four Corners Base in Afghanistan. Polish patrol was trying to help attacked Afghans policemen when suddenly they were cannonaded with grenade launchers and heavy machine guns. There occurred an exchange of fire between Polish soldiers and Afghans rebels. The army called helicopters that scared those rebels off who were able to run away. Fortunately the army intercepted a lot of left weapons.

#6: Afghan security forces killed four Taliban insurgents as they came under attack and returned fire in the northern Kunduz province, provincial police chief Mohammad Razaq Yaqubi said Friday. "The insurgents raided police checkpoints in Chardara district Thursday night and police encountered killing four rebels and injured three others while three more were arrested," Yaqubi told Xinhua. However, Taliban purported spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in talks with media from undisclosed hideout claimed that a police van was destroyed and all people onboard were killed.

Casualty Reports:

Tom Davis of Angola IN. served his country overseas in Iraq. While driving on patrol, Tom's humvee drove over an IED. The explosion killed one fellow soldier and left Tom with a broken back and his left leg hurt beyond repair. "It blew all kinds of shrapnel in my knee and basically kind of blew my knee away. I didn't have a knee left," said Davis.

Army Pfc. Justin Kalenits of the 173rd Airborne Brigade was released from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. today, after 18 months of treatment. In November of 2007, Kalenits was severely injured in an ambush in the Waygol Valley of Afghanistan. Six members of his 12-man patrol were killed during the attack.