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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

War News for Saturday, October 23, 2010

Files: Iraqi deaths higher than US count

Iraq war leaks 'reveal the truth'


From the mail bag:

PRESS RELEASE: Al Jazeera English to Air Exclusive Programmes on Leaked Documents about Iraq War

Among the major findings covered in the programmes:

The US army’s cover-up of Iraqi state sanctioned torture: Although one of the stated aims of the Iraq War was to close down Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers, the Wikileaks documents show many cases of torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Iraqi police and soldiers. In addition, the documents reveal the U.S. knew about the state sanctioned torture but ordered its troops not to intervene.

The U.S. kept a death count throughout the War despite repeated denials.

The killing of hundreds of civilians at US manned checkpoints: According to the documents, many Iraqi civilians were killed during the war at checkpoints in contrast to the official US position.
New information on Blackwater civilian killings: The secret US files reveal new cases of Blackwater (a company now known as XE) opening fire on civilians. No charges were ever brought.
US Army reports about Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and allegations of his association with death squads.
Iran’s secret involvement in financing Shia militias: The files detail Iran’s secret war in Iraq and discuss Iran’s Revolutionary Guard acting as an alleged supplier of arms to Shia insurgents.

Visit www.aljazeera.net/english for more details.


Reported security incidents

Baghdad:
#1: Three sahwa (awakening) fighters were wounded when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint of the tribal forces in southern Baghdad city on Friday, a security source said. “Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a sahwa checkpoint in al-Rai neighborhood, al-Sayyediya area, southern Baghdad, leaving three fighters wounded,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#2: An Iraqi soldier has been killed and two others injured in an explosive charge blast targeting their patrol in northern Baghdad on Saturday, a security source said. “An explosive charge blew up against an Iraq Army patrol in northern Baghdad’s Ghazaliya district on Saturday, killing one of its soldiers and wounding two others,” the security source added.


Diyala Prv:
#1: An improvised explosive device went off near the vehicle of the Daughters of Iraq leader in the province of Diala, leaving her sister wounded on Friday, according to an official security source. “An IED went off near the vehicle of Wijdan Adel, the leader of the Daughters of Iraq, in the area of al-Manjara, central Baaquba. She was not on the vehicle then but her sister sustained medium wounds,” the source, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.



Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: A suicide attacker driving an explosives-packed car blew up the entrance to a United Nations office Saturday in western Afghanistan, allowing at least three other militants wearing bomb vests to rush into the building, officials said. An unknown number of U.N. employees were inside the building when it was attacked, said Dan McNorton, a spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. He had no information about any casualties. The suicide car bomber destroyed the gate and at least three other militants - all wearing explosives vests - went inside, said Nabiq Arleen, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Herat province. Afghan security forces exchanged gunfire with the attackers, killing at least one of them, said Ministry of Interior spokesman Zemeri Bashary.

#2: In the south, a photographer for The New York Times was seriously injured by a mine Saturday in Kandahar province where international forces are pushing into Taliban strongholds to try to turn the tide of the war. Joao Silva, 44, received leg injuries when he stepped on the mine while accompanying American soldiers on patrol in the Arghandab district. Silva was evacuated to Kandahar Air Field where he was receiving treatment, the newspaper said in a statement. No U.S. troops were wounded in the morning explosion.

#3: Military helicopter gunships attacked hideouts of Islamist militants in the northwestern Orakzai region, killing at least 10 insurgents and wounding eight, government officials said. Two militant hideouts were destroyed, they said. There was no independent confirmation of the incident as the area is remote and out of bound for journalists.

#4: Two Afghan civilians were killed on Saturday as Taliban militants attacked a NATO-led force patrol in Afghanistan's Wardak province, 40 Km west of Afghan capital Kabul, the military alliance said. "Two civilians were possibly killed when insurgents attacked a coalition patrol in Maidan Shahr district, Wardak province Saturday," the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force ( ISAF) confirmed in a press release here. It said the coalition unit was on a patrol when they were attacked by insurgents with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).


DoD: Spc. Gerald R. Jenkins

DoD: Staff Sgt. Kenneth K. McAninch