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

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

War News for Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier in an IED attack near Patrol Base Ezaray to the north east of Sangin district centre, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Monday, February 15th.

Facing death, freed Iraq detainees may fight again:

Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander:

Reported security incidents

#1: An explosion late Monday targeted the Baghdad political office of al-Ahrar, a party that includes followers of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, police said. Punched-out round holes in the office walls indicate that at least two rockets were fired at the building, observers said. Officials blamed a roadside bomb for the explosion, which killed one person and wounded three, including Majid Hussein Taha - a director of the Ministry of Agriculture and a candidate running on the party's ticket.

#2: Two civilians were wounded on Monday evening in a sticky bomb blast in western Baghdad, a police source said. “A bomb, stuck by unknown gunmen to a civilian vehicle, went off near Sahet al-Aordon in western Baghdad, wounding two civilians and injuring the vehicle,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#3: Three civilians have been injured in a house blast near the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a police source said on Tuesday. “Unknown gunmen blew up a house in Khan Dari area, west of Baghdad, destroying large parts of the house and wounding three civilians who were close by at the time of the bombing,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: A car bomb exploded Tuesday outside a police crime lab in northern Iraq, killing at least two people, Iraqi authorities said. The car bomb was parked outside a side entrance to the lab in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometres) northwest of Baghdad, said Lt. Col. Salim Ibrahim, an area commander. It wounded seven people, including five police officers, he said. The explosion knocked over concrete blast walls and caused minor damage to the building, Ibrahim said.

#2: Gunmen also opened fire on two Christian college students waiting at a bus stop in Mosul, killing one and wounding the other, a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

#3: Greengrocer Fatukhi Munir, an Assyrian Catholic, was gunned down inside his shop in a drive-by shooting late on Monday

#4: and armed assailants killed Rayan Salem Elias, a Chaldean Christian, outside his home on Sunday.

#5: An Iraqi army soldier was killed on Monday in an armed attack on an army checkpoint in western Mosul, a police source said. “Unknown gunmen attacked an army checkpoint in 17 Tamouz neighborhood in western Mosul, killing a solider,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#6: Two Iraqi army officers and one civilian were wounded when a roadside bomb hit on Tuesday an army patrol in eastern Mosul city.

#7: A roadside bomb killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded two civilians in northern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#8: Police said they found the body of a Planning Ministry employee with gun shot wounds on Monday in western Mosul, police said

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Three more Afghan civilians were killed in the assault on a southern Taliban stronghold, Nato forces said overnight. The deaths - in three separate incidents. In two of the incidents Nato confirmed Tuesday, Afghan men came toward Nato forces and ignored shouts and hand signals to stop, Nato said. Troops opened fire and killed them. In the third incident, two Afghan men were caught in the crossfire between insurgents and Nato forces. Both were wounded and one died of his injuries despite being given medical care, Nato said.

#2: Though Nato has only confirmed 15 civilian deaths, an Afghan human rights group said Tuesday that they have counted 19 civilians killed since the beginning of the operation. Four of those were people who were caught in the crossfire when they had to leave their homes for various reasons.

#3: Taliban fighters have stepped up counterattacks against Marines and Afghan soldiers in Marjah, slowing the allied advance to a crawl despite Afghan government claims the insurgents were broken and on the run. In the streets, Taliban fighters appeared to be slipping under the cover of darkness into compounds already deemed free of weapons and explosives, then opening fire on the Marines from behind US lines. Explosions could be heard around town Tuesday as Marines endeavored to push further through streets littered with bombs and booby traps. In Marjah, however, there has been little sign the Taliban are broken. Instead, small, mobile teams of insurgents have repeatedly attacked US and Afghan troops with rocket, rifle and rocket-propelled grenade fire in recent days. Taliban fighters moved close enough to the main road to fire repeatedly on columns of mine-clearing vehicles.

#4: In a separate incident unrelated to the Marjah offensive, a Nato airstrike in neighboring Kandahar province killed five civilians and wounded two. Nato said in a statement they were mistakenly believed to have been planting roadside bombs.

#5: Another two Australian soldiers have been wounded in a roadside bomb attack in southern Afghanistan. In the first, a soldier from the Brisbane-based Mentoring Task Force (MTF) received minor wounds. The second incident involved a soldier from the Townsville-based Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force - Two (MRTF-2) patrol. He was seriously injured and is due to return to Australia for further medical treatment. Another two soldiers had since come forward with injuries from the same blast, the defence department said on Tuesday.

MoD: Kingsman Sean Dawson

MoD: Rifleman Mark Marshall