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, March 17, 2011

War News for Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reported security incidents

#1: An explosive charge blew off against a U.S. Army patrol north of Kut city, the center of southern Iraq’s Wassit Province on Wednesday, a police source said. “An explosive charge blew off on Wednesday afternoon against a U.S. Army patrol in al-Numaniya township, 40 kms to the north of Kut, but losses were not known,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. He said the U.S. forces opened random fire and imposed a security cordon on the area of the attack, shortly after the incident.

#1: Eight civilians were wounded by a bike bomb explosion in central Mosul on Thursday, a security source said. "A bicycle bomb went off this morning at the center of a market in al-Dawasa street, central Mosul," the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. "The blast wounded eight civilians, most of them suffered minor injuries," he added.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: The international coalition said on Thursday that more than 30 insurgents were killed during an ongoing operation in southwestern Helmand province. The operation in the still restive province started two days ago targeting narcotics and weapons trafficking. Opium poppies in Helmand are a main cash crop the Taliban use to fuel their insurgency.

#2: The coalition says that in a separate incident more than 10 insurgents were killed Wednesday near a coalition base in eastern Kunar province.

#3: Four US missiles ploughed into a militant training compound in Pakistan's Taliban and Al Qaeda-hit northwest on Thursday, killing 24 and wounding several others, security officials said. A security official in Peshawar said the missiles struck a militant training centre in Datta Khel town, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal area, which borders Afghanistan. "Militants were using this house as a training centre and used to meet here. They have recovered 24 dead bodies from the debris. We think the death toll may rise," said the official, raising an earlier toll of 12 dead. He said 10 other militants were critically injured and said those killed were believed to be members of the Pakistani Taliban.

#3: Two people were killed on Wednesday when a bomb exploded outside a Nato base in southern Afghanistan, setting fire to more than a dozen fuel trucks, police and officials said. Another six people were injured in the blast and a huge blaze is still burning outside the base, a spokesman for the governor of the southern province of Uruzgan said, adding that all the victims were Afghan civilians. Two people were killed and six wounded, said the spokesman, Melad Mudesar. Twelve trucks are completely burned, and the fire is still going. Mudesar said the explosives were concealed on a motorbike parked near the base, although other sources indicated they were hidden in one of the fuel trucks. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

#4-5: Two separate bomb attacks on paramilitary convoys in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province on Thursday killed four people including three soldiers, officials said.

#4: The separatist Baloch Republican Army claimed responsibility for the first attack, in which a remotely-detonated roadside bomb hit a convoy in Naseerabad district, 430 kilometres southeast of Quetta. “Two soldiers and a passer-by were killed and seven others were wounded. One vehicle was also badly damaged,” Abdul Jabbar Jatoi, a senior administrative official told AFP.

#5: A second bomb, planted in a car and also detonated remotely, went off later in the outskirts of Quetta, killing another soldier and wounding three others, police said. “One soldier died in hospital, three others are under medical treatment,” Hasan Buzdar, a police official in Quetta told AFP.