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

Sunday, May 15, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Three members of one family killed in an armed home invasion. No indication of motive as of now.

Four people are injured by an explosion near the National Theater in Karrada.

VoI reports four separate Katyusha rocket attacks:

* Six people are injured when a rocket falls on a garage in al-Tayaran square.
* Three are injured by a rocket that falls on the highway in Jadririya.
* Four are injured by a rocket that falls near a mosque and a filling station.
* A fourth rocket falls harmlessly into the Tigris.

However, Reuters reports that one person was killed and nine injured when nine rockets fell in the Green Zone. (That's a pretty big event for VoI to miss!)

Xinhua reports on three separate attacks on police by gunmen equipped silenced weapons.

* Gunmen injured a traffic officer in al-Shaab. He returned fire and killed one of the attackers.
* Lieutenant Colonel Mahmoud Nawaf from the Interior Ministry was injured in an attack on his car in Abu Dsheir.
* A intelligence officer was injured in al-Nisour square.


Two people are killed and three injured in what appears to be a neighborhood feud.

An off-duty police man is injured by a roadside bomb in Hammam al-Alil township south of the city.

Tuz Township, south of Kirkuk

Six police are injured by a roadside bomb.

Turkey-Kurdistan border region

Turkish government says soldiers killed 12 PKK members who were entering Turkey. Separately, a Turkish soldier is killed by a land mine. The PKK ended a six-month cease fire in February.

Other News of the Day

For you conspiracy theorists out there (and after all, there really are conspiracies, a helicopter, hired by police, landed at the scene shortly after the body of Dr. David Kelly was found and departed after five minutes. The Daily Mail obtained flight logs but "Significantly, the flight log has been heavily redacted, making it impossible to know who was on board or what its exact purpose was. The flight was not mentioned in oral evidence at the Hutton Inquiry, set up by Tony Blair to investigate Dr Kelly’s death." (For those who do not recall, Dr. Kelly was named as the primary source of a report that the Blair government had lied to the public about Iraqi weapons in making the case for war. He was found dead shortly thereafter, and his death ruled a suicide; but many have doubts. Follow the link for details.)

A navy biomedical investigator believes that inhalation of microscopic dust particles may be responsible for unexplained illnesses of many Iraq veterans. The Defense Department (surprise!) denies there is any problem.

PM Nouri al-Maliki issues a threat to Muqtada al-Sadr should the government decide to extend the U.S. troop presence in Iraq an al-Sadr oppose the decision. Al-Sadr responds with a sermon in which he says ""We appeal to all Iraqi people to expel the U.S. troops from Iraq through demonstrations and marches. We will not accept the occupation's troops staying, not even for one day after the end of this year."

Afghanistan Update

A NATO soldier is killed by an IED in southern Afghanistan. No further information as of now.

A police official says NATO forces opened fire on a group of girls age 8 to 15 in Kunar province, killing one and injuring four. NATO says it is investigating.

Leaked documents reveal that NATO forces have made extensive use of white phosphorus weapons in populated areas, a practice forbidden by international conventions.

The Pakistani legislature passes a resolution asking the government to consider ending the transport through Pakistan of supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

John Kerry is visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee winds up hearings on the Afghanistan war. A movement is growing in congress to wind down the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Kerry's position on this question is likely to be influential.