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, February 24, 2010

War News for Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MNF-Iraq (OIF) is reporting the death of a U.S. Soldier in a vehicle related accident in an undisclosed location in Al Anbar Province on Tuesday, February 23rd.

Afghan Leader Asserts Control Over Election Body: Using a loophole in the Afghan Constitution, the Karzai government unilaterally rewrote the election law, and the president put it into effect by a legislative decree on Feb. 13. Under the new version, the five members of the Election Complaint Commission, created to oversee voting irregularities, will now be chosen by the president after consultation with the parliamentary leadership...

More Satellites Will Act as Eyes for Troops: But American units have found that satellite signals are weakened and even blocked outright by the breathtaking peaks and backbreaking valleys of Afghanistan — making it hard to pinpoint the troops’ location, navigate on patrol, identify friend from foe in battle or call in bombs and artillery when under attack.

Reported security incidents

#1: One civilian was killed and three more were wounded in the explosion that occurred in central Baghdad on Tuesday, a police source said. “An explosive charge went off in front of a book shop in al-Mutanabi street, central Baghdad, killing a civilian and injuring three,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#2: Iraqi Health Ministry denied on Wednesday that its institutions have received a number of unknown corpses over the past few hours. “Reports in this regard are absolutely untrue,” said a release issued by the Ministry and received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency. Yesterday, Iyad Allawi, head of the Al-Iraqiya electoral bloc, said in a press conference that 67 unknown dead bodies were found in Baghdad.

#3: A senior judge was killed when a bomb went off near his house in the Doura district of southern Baghdad, police said.

#4: Unknown gunmen shot and wounded a female member of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in the Amil district of southwest Baghdad, a medical source said

#1: Police forces defused on Wednesday an improvised explosive device in southern Amara, according to a senior police officer.

Wassit Prv:
#1: An Iraqi army forces foiled an attempt to detonate a bridge over the Tigris river in northern Wassit, a military source said. “A force from the 32nd brigade of the Iraqi army managed on Wednesday (Feb. 24) to foil an attempt to detonate al-Suwaiyra bridge, north of Kut, which links Kut with Baghdad,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “The force seized a barrel with 220 liters of TNT and other high explosives materials placed under the bridge,” he explained.

#1: Two persons have been wounded in an explosive charge blast in Kirkuk City, a local police source said on Tuesday. “At noon, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near the foodstuffs department in al-Wassity neighborhood, southwestern Kirkuk,” Col. Ghazi Ali told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.The incident left two persons, including a policeman, wounded, the colonel pointed out.

#1: Unidentified gunmen killed three Christians from the same family in western Mosul on Tuesday, according to a security source. “Unknown armed men stormed the house of a Christian family in al-Seha neighborhood in western Mosul, killing the father and two of his sons, one of them is a priest,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “The father is a very old man and the priest had been kidnapped two years ago,” he explained.

#2: “Two policemen were gunned down by gunmen at a checkpoint in Tal a-Ruman region, western Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#3: “A child was wounded in a hand grenade blast that targeted a police checkpoint in al-Jameaa al-Kabier region, central Mosul,” the same source said.

#4: “A woman was killed on Tuesday evening by gunmen in Mosul al-Jadieda region in western Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#5: “A policeman was killed in a sticky bomb explosion in al-Mansour neighborhood in southern Mosul,” he added.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: The Afghan human rights commission reported Wednesday that 28 civilians have been killed so far in NATO's offensive on the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, and urged pro-government forces to take greater care in distinguishing between civilians and militants. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said in a statement Wednesday that it had confirmed 28 civilians deaths in the Marjah fighting, based on witness reports. Thirteen children were among the dead. About 70 civilians have been wounded, 30 of them children, the commission said. NATO has confirmed at least 16 civilian deaths, while outside observers have reported 19.

#2: Suspected U.S. missiles killed four people today in an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold in northwest Pakistan, intelligence officials said, amid signs of greater cooperation between Islamabad and Washington. The three missiles hit a compound and a vehicle in Dargah Mandi area of North Waziristan tribal region. The identities of the dead were not immediately clear, said intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. However, the area hit was a stronghold of the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taliban faction that is considered a major threat to U.S. troops across the border in Afghanistan.

#3: Earlier today, the bodies of two men alleged by militants to be U.S. spies were discovered in Mir Ali, a town in North Waziristan. Each had a note attached accusing the victim of spying for the Americans and warning other informants they faced the same fate, area resident Akram Ullah said. Another witness, Sana Ullah, said one man was a local tribal elder and the other was Afghan.

Taliban militants have beheaded three men including two Afghans in Pakistan's lawless northwest tribal belt, accusing them of spying for the United States, officials said Wednesday.
The headless bodies were found dumped by the roadside in the Mir Ali area of the tribal North Waziristan district, which borders Afghanistan, local police officer Muneer Zaman said. “Their throats were cut last night and the bodies were dumped early Wednesday,” he told AFP from the region's main town Miramshah. A note placed near the bodies said the men were beheaded because “they were US spies - anybody found engaged in espionage will meet the same fate”. A security official confirmed the killings, saying the beheaded Afghans were refugees while the local man was an ordinary Pakistani tribesman.

#3: Two men on a motorbike gunned down an Afghan provincial official as he walked to work Wednesday in the main southern city of Kandahar, police said. Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the assassination. Underscoring the threat militants pose, attackers shot and killed Abdul Majid Babai, the head of Kandahar's information and culture department, in the provincial capital then drove off, said Mohammad Shah Farooqi, the deputy provincial police chief. They have not been caught, he said. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef told The Associated Press that the insurgents were responsible for the killing.

#4: NATO and Afghan forces move into the 12th day of a major offensive to push militants out of a Taliban stronghold in neighboring Helmand province. The military alliance reported Wednesday that fighting was tapering off but bombs and gunmen continued to pose a threat. Clearing roadside bombs and precautions to prevent civilian casualties have slowed the largest joint military operation since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001, which planners see as key to taking on the insurgents in their southern heartland and turning around the war. Military officials have said the assault in Marjah is just the first push in a campaign that will move east into Kandahar province - the Taliban's birthplace and where the hardline Islamist group still controls large swaths of territory.

#5: Four young brothers were killed Wednesday when Taliban militants fired a rocket into a residential area of Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar, police said.

DoD: Lance Cpl. Joshua H. Birchfield

DoD: Cpl. Gregory S. Stultz

DoD: Lance Cpl. Adam D. Peak

DoD: Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Eckard

DoD: Staff Sgt. Michael David P. Cardenaz

DoD: Lance Cpl. Matthias N. Hanson

DoD: Lance Cpl. Eric L. Ward

DoD: Pfc. JR Salvacion

DoD: Capt. Marcus R. Alford

DoD: Chief Warrant Officer Billie J. Grinder