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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

War News for Thursday, February 24, 2011

Afghan security worst since Taliban era: UN

Iranian ships passing Suez a signal to Israel

Reported security incidents

#1: In Baghdad, two policemen and a civilian were wounded by a roadside bomb explosion near a police patrol in the neighborhood of al-Hurriyah in northern the capital, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, two more people were wounded by roadside bomb explosion in Baghdad's southeastern neighborhood of al-Rustamiyah, the source said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: father and his three sons were assassinated by gunmen linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq on Thursday, said a security source. The father and his sons were attacked in their home in the city of Baquba, about 60 kilometres northeast of the capital Baghdad. The gunmen stormed the house Thursday morning and shot all four in a barrage of bullets, said the security source. One of the sons worked as a policeman in the Diyala province, but it was not clear why the family had been targeted.

In Diyala, gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms stormed a house in the town of al-Sa'diyah, 120 km northeast of Baghdad, and shot dead a man and his three sons, a source from the provincial operations command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#2: In a separate incident, a roadside bomb went off near a passing minibus near Diyala's capital city if Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, killing a civilian and wounding two others, the source added.

#3: Also in Diyala, Lieutenant Colonel Tha'ir al-Obiedi, deputy chief of the provincial operations command, escaped with wounds an assassination attack when a sticky bomb attached to his car detonated in eastern Baquba, the source said.

#4: Separately, two people were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in Baquba's northern neighborhood of al-Ameen, he added.

#1: Iraqi soldier was killed and two more were wounded in a bomb blast in eastern Mosul, according to a security source. “An improvised explosive device went off on Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 23) targeting an Iraqi army vehicle patrol in Sumer neighborhood, eastern Mosul, killing a soldier and injuring two more,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Tal Afar:
#1: An officer of a nationality affairs department was killed by a sticky bomb explosion in west of Mosul, according to a security source. "Lieutenant Hussein Mohammad Saleh, an officer of the national affairs department, was killed on Thursday by a sticky bomb explosion in Talafar district, west of Mosul," the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. "The bomb exploded as the victim was heading from his place to his work in Talafar," he added.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: A government administrator says unidentified gunmen in southwestern Pakistan have attacked and set alight two NATO oil tankers that were traveling to Afghanistan. Abdul Aziz says the tankers were attacked Thursday as they were heading to the border town of Chaman in southwestern Baluchistan province.

#2: A suicide car bomb attack killed an intelligence agent and wounded 26 other people in an Afghan town on the Pakistan border Thursday, officials said, in the latest in a wave of blasts.
The explosives-packed vehicle with two bombers inside blew up in Spin Boldak after intelligence agents acting on a tip-off opened fire in a bid to stop it, Lutfullah Mashal, a spokesman for Afghanistan's national spy agency, said. “We had intelligence that it was coming. The car was located, there were two suicide bombers in it. Our officers shot at it and killed one of the bombers after it did not heed their order to stop,” he told AFP. “The second bomber was injured and he detonated his suicide vest, also setting off his friend's vest and the bombs in the vehicle.”Mashal added that one of the agents involved in the hunt in Kandahar province was killed and several other security officials were injured in the blast. Kandahar's provincial governor, Toryalai Wesa, confirmed the death and said 26 people including intelligence agents, police and civilians were injured.

An intelligence agent was killed and at least two dozen people were injured in a suicide attack in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Thursday, officials said. Afghan security forces identified the bomber and attempted to stop him as he was driving into Spin Boldak district's main market, said Abdul Razeq, a border police commander. The bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle when he was surrounded by security personnel and bystanders, killing one intelligence agent and wounding at least 24.

#3: Fire from a NATO helicopter allegedly killed five civilians including two children in north-eastern Afghanistan Thursday after mistaking them for militants, a local official said. The pre-dawn strike happened as the civilians were climbing a mountain for bird-hunting in Ala Sai district of Kapisa province, Mullah Mohammad Omari, the district chief, said, DPA reported. "Three of the men were carrying hunting guns and the NATO helicopter mistook them for militants," Omari told the German Press Agency dpa. Taliban militants are active in the Dra Shepi area where the incident took place, he said. The dead included a father, his 12-year-old son and 13-year-old nephew, Omari said.

#4: Five civilians were injured Thursday as a roadside bomb went off in Khost province, some 150 km southeast of capital Kabul, officials said. The blast occurred at around 9:30 local time in Nadir Shah Kot district outside provincial capital Khost city, district chief Qasim Shirzai told Xinhua. He said the bomb was intentionally targeted a police vehicle that has passed the road but injured four civilians, Shirzai added.

#5: A freight train was derailed Thursday when a section of the rail track was blown up in Chagai, a remote district in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, local sources said. No one was hurt but four railway cars of the train were overturned after the railway was hit in an explosion planted by some unknown militants at the town of Dalbandin, locals said.

#6: Afghan forces have killed seven anti- government insurgents in the country's southern Helmand province on Wednesday, a press release of Defense Ministry issued here Thursday said. "During a joint operation of Afghan and NATO-led troop forces in Gereshk district of Helmand province on Wednesday, seven insurgents were killed, two were injured and another was captured," the press release said.

#7: At least 10 militants were killed and several others injured as Pakistan's security forces targeted militants hideouts in the country's northwestern tribal area, officials said Thursday. The security forces backed by gunship helicopters carried out an operation at militant insurgent Spair Kat and Chanarak areas of Kurram agency, a main area in the tribal belt some 134 km west of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In the operation, the security forces also destroyed a vehicle and two militant hideouts in Kurram. Kurram is one of the seven militancy-hit agencies in the tribal belt of Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.