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, February 26, 2010

War News for Friday, February 26, 2010

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier in from small arms fire near Sangin, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Thursday, February 25th.

The British MoD is reporting the death of another British ISAF soldier from an "explosion" (IED?) near Check Point Shamal Storrei in the Nad 'Ali district, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Friday, February 26th.

Iraq to reinstate 20,000 Saddam-era army officers:

Germany votes to extend, boost Afghanistan mission: Germany's parliament voted Friday to raise its upper limit for troops in Afghanistan by 850 and extend the mission by one year. Germany currently has a maximum of 4,500 troops in the war-torn country, based mainly in the north. These will be joined by 500 regular troops and 350 reservists will be put on stand-by.

Taliban defectors accept U.S. approach but wait for promises to be kept:

Reported security incidents

#1: Two Army officers in Sadr City were killed in a separate incident at a checkpoint in the city.

#2: A blast that took place on Thursday on the road near the Finance Ministry building in eastern Baghdad left four civilians wounded. “The blast occurred today (Feb. 25) afternoon,” a local security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “Two civilian vehicles were destroyed in the powerful explosion,” he said, not giving further details.

#3: One person was wounded when an unknown gunman threw a hand grenade on the Iraqi Communist Party’s headquarters in central Baghdad. “An Unknown gunman threw a hand grenade on the headquarters of the Communist Party in Sahet al-Andalus in central Baghdad late Thursday (Feb. 25), injuring one of the guards, who was carried to Ibn al-Nafies hospital for treatment,” Aswat al-Iraq news agency’s correspondent said.

#1: An improvised explosive device (IED) went off near a U.S. convoy east of al-Amara city on Thursday but left no casualties, a local security source in Missan said. “The charge went off near the U.S. convoy on the main street that links Amara to al-Kahlaa district, near the village of Ghaza, (10 km) east of Amara. The attack left no casualties but caused damage to one of the convoy’s Hummer vehicles,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: For a second day in a row, rockets fired in Basrah landed in the vicinity of a central Basrah water reservoir. The latest attack occurred around 9 p.m., Feb. 23. The first rocket attack occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 22. No injuries were reported in either attack.

#1: Three citizens were killed on Thursday in Mosul including two Kurdish Shabaks. Two of them were shot dead in their store in central Mosul while the third was killed by gunmen in front of his house in Al Amel District.

#2: “Unidentified gunmen killed a 60-year-old woman in al-Zuhour neighborhood, eastern Mosul, using a knife,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#3: “Police found the body of a beheaded woman in al-Mashierfa region, western Mosul,” the source said.

#4: A man whose throat was slit was found dead in Tal el-Rimman, western Mosul. There was no signs of the man having been shot,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#5: Meanwhile, the same source added, unidentified gunmen opened fire at a man in al-Rifaie neighborhood, western Mosul, leaving him seriously wounded.

#6: A car bomb wounded three soldiers and six civilians when it exploded, targeting an Iraqi army patrol, in southern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#7: A bomb exploded in a dumpster in southern Mosul, killing two civlians and wounding 10 other people in another attack that targeted the Iraqi army, police said.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Head of the Iraqi powers alliance, Sheikh Mohammad Ali Salman, survived an attempt on his life on Friday in eastern Anbar, according to a police source. “Unknown gunmen opened fire on his vehicle on Friday (Feb. 26) near a checkpoint in eastern Anbar, without hurting him,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Taliban suicide bombers targeted guesthouses in the centre of Kabul on Friday, killing 16 people including Westerners in one of the deadliest attacks on the Afghan capital in a year. An Italian, a Frenchman and four Indians were among the dead, officials said. The assault took place near the Park Residence Hotel in the Shar-I-Naw commercial district. "There were three bombers. One in the car which exploded, the two others at the Park Residence," said Sayed Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada, Kabul city criminal police chief. They appear to have targeted the Park Residence and on the main road through Shar-I-Naw, and the smaller Aria guesthouse on a side street off the opposite side of the road. The interior ministry said one of the attackers detonated a car bomb in front of the Aria guesthouse, and two other would-be bombers were shot dead in the Park Residence. The Italian man staying at the Park Residence was shot dead by militants after being in direct telephone contact with Afghan police during the attack, Kabul police chief General Abdul Rahman told a news conference. Four other Italians were rescued by Afghan security forces, he said. Sporadic gunfire rattled through the area as ambulances raced to the scene and grey smoke billowed into the air.

An Italian 'diplomatic counsellor' was among the victims of Friday's terrorist attack in the Afghan capital Kabul, Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.
The man was deployed with Italy's embassy in Afghanistan and resided at the hotel targeted in the dawn attack, Frattini said in a television interview.

At least 22 people, including five suicide bombers, were killed in an attack in Afghan capital Kabul on Friday morning, local police said. Two explosions blew up nearby City Center, a nine-story shopping building in downtown Kabul about 6:40 local time Friday morning, police said.
The first explosion proved to be a suicide car bombing at a guesthouse where most guests were Indian nationals, which resulted in the collapse of the whole building of the guesthouse. The other two bombers detonated the explosives tied on their bodies near the City Center. Two remaining terror suspects hid inside the building of City Center or neighboring residence, launched gunbattles with the police and later were killed in the exchange of fire. Three suicide bombers were killed in the attack, an Afghan intelligence official who declined to be named told Xinhua. The attack also claimed the lives of two Afghan policemen, said Sayed Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada, head of Crime Investigation Department of Kabul police.

#2: A bomb planted in a motorcycle targeting Afghan Minister for Water and Power Mohammad Ismael Khan injured two civilians Friday in the country's western Herat province. Local police said that militants in the town of Torghondi bordering Turkmenistan detonated the bomb prematurely before the convoy of the minister reached the spot.

DoD: Sgt. Marcos Gorra