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, January 26, 2011

War News for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

IED casualties in Afghanistan spike - The number of U.S. troops killed by roadside bombs in Afghanistan soared by 60 percent last year, while the number of those wounded almost tripled, new U.S. military statistics show. All told, 268 U.S. troops were killed by the improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in 2010, about as many as in the three previous years combined, according to the figures, obtained by The Washington Post. More than 3,360 troops were injured, an increase of 178 percent over the year before.

Soldier from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment killed in Afghanistan

Reported security incidents

#1: An official of Iraq's National Security Ministry had been killed by unknown gunmen in central Baghdad on Tuesday evening, a security source said on Wednesday. "A group of unknown gunmen have killed an official of Iraq's National Security Ministry, while driving his car in central Baghdad's Alawi District on Tuesday night," the security source said, adding that the "assassins have escaped to an unknown destination," giving no further details.

#2: A member of the pro-government al-Sahwa (Awakening) Forces was shot dead by a group of unknown armed men in northern Baghdad on Wednesday, a security source said. "A group of unknown gunmen have shot dead an al-Sahwa (Awakening) Member, while driving his car in northern Baghdad's Tarmiya district," the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Three children have been injured in an explosive charge blast against their house, for which they returned after forcing them to flee away from it in Baaquba city, the center of northeast Iraq's Diala Province, a security source said on Wednesday. "An explosive charge blew off in a house, belonging to a family in Gatoun district, south of Baaquba, who they returned to on Tuesday, after being forced to desert it due to violence acts during the past few years, wounding three children," the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"

It's a slow news day, have a good day everyone - whisker.


dancewater said...

Reports of torture and abuse at secret prison in the Green Zone

However, at least one informed Iraqi official and a senior diplomatic source say they have received new reports about the jail, including allegations of beatings and sexual violence.

"Conditions are quite poor. There have been allegations of abuse," said the senior diplomatic source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Though on paper the Justice Ministry is in charge of the facility, "in fact, you'll find they are not," the source said. "Those who are responsible from the security forces are very much in control."

A former U.S. official and onetime Iraqi lawmakers who toured the jail in the past describe it as a prefabricated hangar of 36 cells that reeked of human waste. The windowless cells designed to hold one person were regularly jammed with at least six, they said. According to two men who were held there last spring, detainees were allowed outdoors every other day for 30 minutes, and most suffered from skin rashes.

The ex-U.S. official said he had seen many prisoners with bruises and black eyes. If there was no space, or the guards wanted to hide them, some detainees were kept in a second building, the former official said. The senior diplomatic source and two Iraqi officials said they believe such practices were continuing.

dancewater said...

More than $11 billion in U.S. funding to construct and maintain bases for rapidly expanding Afghan security forces is at "risk of being wasted" because the military has no comprehensive plan for the program, according to government investigators.

dancewater said...

torture, abuse, murder, rape, wasting enormous amounts of money, destruction of the environment and millions of human lives: THAT IS THE US WARS ON IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

evil to the core.....

dancewater said...

Retired US Army Colonel Discusses Why the War in Afghanistan is Unwinnable

You went to Afghanistan in September 2009, and then again last month. What, if anything, has changed?

The change that I noticed and that was talked about the most by Afghans was the huge increase in U.S. military bases-now over 400. We saw the construction of a huge base just north of Kabul. The high wall on the front side of it stretches over two miles and encloses a large training area. In the shadow of the wall, just across the road in an internal displacement camp, are tens of thousands of Afghans who have fled the fighting in the South and East of the country. They are living in abject misery in small dirt hovels, with no water or sewage and only a few sticks of wood each day to cook a tiny meal. Yet across the road are hundreds of millions-if not billions-of dollars spent on infrastructure for military training and operations. Villas built with the huge profits from the multi-million dollar U.S. logistics contracts to support our military presence are rented back to the international community contractors and non-governmental agencies for $10,000 to $15,000 per month. Yet most Afghans live in poverty.

In travelling outside of Kabul north of the Panjshir Valley, we went past the turn-off to Bagram Air Base, now an American city with over 20,000 U.S. military living and working there, as well as an infamous prison with over 10,000 detainees who are being held without any judicial process, many for years. We observed two new, 'smaller' U.S. military bases on the way to the valley-with the standard and expensive bomb-blast protective walls with at least 50 pre-fab buildings in each and an American flag flying above each base.

With its latest $500 million expansion project, the United States Embassy in Afghanistan will be the largest in the world, even bigger than the mammoth U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Over 1,400 U.S. government employees will reside inside the walls of the compound, which is expanding to take over the Afghan Ministry of Health grounds and part of an Afghan Ministry of Defense area. The U.S. is building two consulates, one in Heart and one in Mazir Sharif. Each will cost $50 million.

dancewater said...

Guantanamo Bay remains open for over ten years now - a monument of shame to the United States of America and all the citizens of this country.

dancewater said...

The title for the blog posts for the last three days have said "December".

Cervantes said...

I just received the following e-mail. I offer it as an indication of the vast imbalance in the PR capacity of Israel vs. Palestine.

"Hi Barton,

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, will be speaking on Israel's humanitarian record next Tuesday night in Times Square. Journalists attending will be given access to follow-up with the Ambassador for this and other stories. (Press Release and Media Alert below for full details)

Please email to reserve a spot for you or one of your colleagues at Iraq Today on the VIP list and share an elegant, private room at the Edison Ballroom with high profile philanthropists, politicians, and NGO leaders. It will be a great story in an amazing setting.

------------MEDIA ALERT---------------

WHEN: Tuesday, February 1, 2011,

Doors open at 6:45pm; Presentation begins at 7:30pm; After party from 8:30 - 11:00pm

WHERE: Edison Ballroom, 240 West 47 Street, New York City

WHO: Michael Oren, Israel's Ambassador to the US

Ido Aharoni, Israeli Consulate General to NYC

Testimonials from Haiti, Columbia, Kosovo, Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and China

New York politicians

philanthropists , activists and aid workers

500 plus young professionals

Birthright Israeli Alumni Community (organizer)

WHAT: Israel's Ambassador to the USA, Michael Oren, will reveal Israel's 50 yearlong quest

to funnel technologies and assistance to the developing world and share Israel's vast humanitarian activities since 1958, including how Israel's foreign development MASHAV, provides over 300 courses each year for representatives from nearly 140 developing countries, many which do not even officially recognize Israel. Guests will also experience a multi-media tour around the world and be able to meet people who have been helped by Israelis in their time of dire need, including Haiti, Sri Lanka, India, Tibet, and China.

In order to help better humanitarian conditions here in NYC, each ticket includes the purchase of a blanket for The Warming Wall, a towering collection of blankets displayed at the event like a minature of The Western Wall in Jerusalem. The blankets will be distributed the next day to emergency homeless shelters, a transitional housing facility, and a shelter in the Bronx for those suffering from advanced AIDS."

BTW, there is unlikely to be such a thing as a shelter in the Bronx for those suffering from advanced AIDS. Anybody who has "advanced AIDS" will be in a health care facility. Just sayin'.

dancewater said...


dancewater said...

Watchdog faults Obama's Afghan security strategy

The Obama administration's $11.4 billion plan to bolster Afghanistan's security forces is "at risk" because of poor planning, a government watchdog agency concluded in a report released Wednesday.

Auditors with the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said the U.S. government "could not provide the plans or justifications" for building nearly 900 police stations and garrisons and other facilities for Afghanistan's national security forces.

The report confirms earlier findings in a series late last year by McClatchy that found the ambitious strategy, like much of the wider Afghan reconstruction effort, is faltering. The program is a linchpin of President Barack Obama's strategy to strengthen Afghan security forces so 100,000 U.S. troops can come home by the end of 2014.

dancewater said...

Karzai's pick for parliament speaker accoused of autrocities

An Afghan warlord who's accused of gross human rights violations and was once close to Osama bin Laden has received the backing of President Hamid Karzai for the important post of speaker of the new parliament, which was inaugurated Wednesday.

To the dismay of diplomats and many lawmakers, especially women and those from Afghanistan's ethnic Hazara community, Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, who's been accused of a string of atrocities during Afghanistan's civil war of the 1990s, is Karzai's early candidate for the speaker slot, members of parliament said.

The new parliament — the country's second since the Taliban regime fell in 2001 — like the first assembly contains a gallery of former "mujahedeen" warlords and guerrilla commanders who've been held responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians.

One member of parliament, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, suggested that Karzai wanted Sayyaf as speaker in order to rile the West.

dancewater said...

After Bombing, Iraqis direct anger at police"

Anger at Iraq’s security forces boiled over Thursday after a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb beside an outdoor funeral service, killing dozens and sending residents storming into the street, some firing warning shots at the police they said had failed to protect them.

The bomb killed at least 48 people and wounded 120 in the predominately Shiite neighborhood, adding to a recent spate of attacks that have taken nearly 200 lives in the past 10 days.

Iraqi Army troops rushed to the scene on Thursday to support the police, leading to a lull in the violence. But the crowd erupted again shortly afterward, with more people flooding the street, throwing rocks and bottles at the security forces.

The neighborhood revolt was eventually quelled, with the military imposing a curfew to stop further demonstrations. But such open defiance of the security forces, which is rare here, came as Iraqis had been watching scenes of unrest around the region and wondering aloud about whether their own country would be further destabilized.