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, January 15, 2010

War News for Friday, January 15, 2010

Japan ends refuelling mission for Afghanistan war:

Ralph Masi: Surge in Afghanistan and the severely wounded:

U.S. war on militancy hits Pakistan economy: Zardari:

Reported security incidents

#1: Three explosions ripped through the city of Najaf on Thursday, just hundreds of yards from one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam. Two homemade bombs detonated just five minutes apart about 5:30 p.m. in an open-air fish-and-vegetable market. Police found another bomb inside a garbage truck. As they tried to defuse it, a bomb in a car parked nearby exploded, ripping through the crowd, said police Capt. Hadi al-Najafi. Authorities gave conflicting estimates of the number of dead, ranging from one to at least two dozen.

At least 27 people were killed and 111 injured in a series of explosions that hit the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, medics said Friday as they updated the death toll.

#1: Unidentified persons kidnapped a gold trader in the area of al-Qahtaniya, northern Sinjar district, on Thursday, according to the chief of al-Biaaj council. “A person of the name Hussein Dawoud Hassan, a roaming trader of gold jewelry who frequents areas between Sinjar and Biaaj, has disappeared today (Jan. 14) in al-Qahtaniya, (35 km) north of Sinjar, which administratively belongs to Biaaj district, (130 km) northwest of Mosul,” Jassem Mohammed Hussein told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: Two Katyusha rockets hit a house in central Kirkuk on Friday, without causing casualties, a source from the joint coordination center said. “Two Katyusha rockets were fired from an unknown place in al-Waseti neighborhood behind al-Zahraa mosque in southwestern Kirkuk and landed on a house in al-Khadraa neighborhood near al-Sarmdi mosque in central Kirkuk, causing only material damage,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: A roadside bomb struck a family travelling home after visiting a shrine Friday in southern Afghanistan, killing five people, including four children, an official said. The blast occurred in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar, near the Pakistan border. Those killed included the mother, three boys and a girl, according to Abdul Razaq, a local border security commander. He said the father and another male relative were wounded.

#2: Separately, an MQ-1 Predator drone crashed Friday afternoon in southern Afghanistan, but the U.S. Air Force said hostile fire was not the cause. The Air Force said the crash site was secured and no civilian casualties or damage to civilian property was reported. The crash would be investigated.