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, July 22, 2009

War News for Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 20 airpower summary: July 19 airpower summary: July 18 airpower summary:

Oakland, California, passes landmark marijuana tax: (Off topic, but what the hell)

Kalashnikov demand soars with violence in Pakistan:

Tajikistan Says Will Reinforce Border With Afghanistan:

Tajikistan to tighten security ahead of Afghan vote:

Pakistan objects to US' Afghan surge:

Pakistan Objects to U.S. Expansion in Afghan War:

U.S. Deaths Hit A Record High In Afghanistan:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Tuesday Around 1 p.m. a roadside bomb targeted civilians in Gaiyara neighborhood near a local market killing three civilians and injuring 16.

#2: A roadside bomb targeted civilians in Doura, southern Baghdad at 1 p.m. Wednesday injuring nine civilians.

Diyala Prv:
#1: At least five Iranian pilgrims were killed and dozens more wounded Wednesday in an attack northeast of Baghdad, security officials said. Gunmen using machine guns, ambushed a convoy with three buses carrying Iranian pilgrims in the Diyala province killing at least five and leaving 35 other pilgrims wounded, an Iraqi military official in the province said. The attack was in the Imam Wais area about 70 kilometers (43 miles) northeast of Diyala's provincial capital of Baquba.

Abu Ghraib:
#1: A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq says American soldiers have killed two people who attempted to throw grenades at a convoy west of Baghdad. In addition, Lt. Col. Philip Smith says one civilian was killed and four were wounded during the attack Tuesday on the American convoy in Abu Ghraib. An Iraqi police official gives a conflicting account of casualties. He says four civilians, a boy and three bus drivers, were killed when U.S. forces opened fire on the attackers near a bus station.

Lt. Col. Philip Smith, the U.S. military spokesman said the attack involved grenades and small arms fire. Four other civilians were also wounded. "The grenades the enemy were attempting to throw exploded,"Smith said in an e-mail message. "Additional enemy forces fired small arms fire at the convoy from a nearby alley."

Resident Jabbar Jassim told The Associated Press that he believes it was American gunfire that killed his 11-year-old son, Hisham, while they were waiting in line at the bus station.

#1: Unknown gunmen blew up a house of a retired brigadier, who had been assassinated last month, in southeastern Mosul, a security source said Tuesday. “Unidentified gunmen on Tuesday afternoon (July 21) blew up a house of a retired army brigadier, Salah el-Din Ismail, in Palestine neighborhood in southeastern Mosul using explosive charges,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “The house left no casualties as the family of the office left it after his assassination on June 14,” the source added.

#2: Two soldiers were wounded on Tuesday in a bomb blast in eastern Mosul, a security source said. “An improvised explosive device went off on Tuesday (July 21) targeting an army vehicle patrol in al-Krama region in eastern Mosul, injuring two soldiers,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#3: A sniper killed one Iraqi army soldier in a military checkpoint in Al Entisar neighborhood in Mosul

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Pakistani troops backed by fighter jets killed more than 30 suspected Taliban militants around the Swat valley and northwest tribal belt on the Afghan border, officials said Wednesday. The high number of casualties, which are impossible to confirm, is the latest in a surge of deadly clashes reported since Pakistani commanders said they had effectively defeated Taliban opposition in parts of the northwest.

#2: Eleven people were killed as Taliban insurgents entered a mosque in Kunduz province in the north of Afghanistan, a local newspaper reported Wednesday. "A group of armed Taliban entered a mosque in Kunduz city, the capital of Kunduz province, when a mine suddenly went off leaving 11 people dead including four children," daily Arman-e-Millie quoting locals reported. However, security officials in the province rejected the claim, saying seven persons including five Taliban fighters were killed in the incident.

#3: Unknown armed men abducted about 13 employees of a local road construction firm in Paktia province, in east Afghanistan, a local official said Wednesday. "A group of armed men raided one base of the workers in Wazi Zadran district late Tuesday night and took away 13 employees including two engineers," governor of the district Abdul Wali Zadran told Xinhua. Two more employees of the company got wounded when they resisted, he said. The company, the official said, was busy in surveying a road between Paktia and Paktiak provinces when the company staff were attacked.

#4: A Finnish-Swedish patrol, part of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), came under fire in northern Afghanistan Wednesday morning, the Finnish Defence Forces said. The Finnish army added that none of the soldiers had been wounded. The army said the patrol had withdrawn after taking small arms fire from a range of about 450 metres.

#5: Defence officials in Berlin confirmed Wednesday that Germany's military was fighting in its largest offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan to date, in response to increased Taliban attacks in the north of the country. Officials said that the deployment involved some 300 members of the Bundeswehr's Quick Reaction Force, using mortar munitions, Marder tanks and close air support.

Casualty Reports:

Petty Officer Harry Basnight (SEAL) was fighting in Afghanistan until an explosion claimed two of his friend’s lives and left him and another comrade injured. Basnight was injured in Afghanistan July 6th when his vehicle ran over an IED. Two of his comrades were killed instantly. Basnight was air evaced to Germany and then flown to Maryland where he underwent surgery to repair his ankle.

Army Sgt. Michael Puccini was injured while on maneuvers and military hospital officials are keeping the family informed several time each hour, as his condition changes. The full extent of Puccini's injuries are unclear, but appear to be inhalation injuries as opposed to firearms injuries, Blevins said."Last we heard, he has opened his eyes and is doing a lot better," Blevins said. "Hospital officials said he is a level above what they had called life-threatening, which is good."

Spc. Andrew Sullens was hit with shrapnel in Afghanistan. He was wounded in mid-May along with Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Boyles, Spc. Anthony Landowski and Pvt. 1st Class Shane Richardson when their vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device (IED). All are deployed with Charlie Troop of the 108th Cavalry, a reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition outfit tasked with training Afghani policemen. Sullens suffered a broken leg and hip, Boyles sustained an injury to a vertebrae that did not damage his spinal cord, and Landowski received injuries including a fractured elbow, two broken legs just above the ankles and facial lacerations, according to a military report. The least seriously injured was Richardson, who was driving the vehicle and had a laceration to his forehead.

MoD Captain Daniel Shepherd killed in Afghanistan:

MoD Corporal Joseph Etchells killed in Afghanistan:

DoD Lance Cpl. Brandon T. Lara:

DoD Cpl. Benjamin S. Kopp: