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

Friday, October 21, 2011

War News for Friday, October 21, 2011

U.S. shutters northern headquarters in Iraq

Reported security incidents

#1: Three roadside bombs killed three civilians and wounded 12 others, including three policemen, when they exploded in quick succession near a restaurant in Baghdad's eastern Habibiya district, police and hospital sources said.

#1: Hundreds of Turkish commandos backed by helicopter gunships attacked Kurdish militants in northern Iraq on Thursday, officials said, in an offensive to avenge the deaths of 24 soldiers a day earlier. Turkish security officials estimated their forces, numbering about 1,000 inside Iraq, had killed 21 fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It was unclear how deep into Iraq this counter-offensive could go. The military said it had put troops from 22 battalions into the field for ground attacks in five different areas on either side of the border, and it had also launched air strikes.

#2: Turkish jets kept up bombing raids on Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq overnight, as the rebels confirmed that some Turkish troops crossed into Iraq, officials and media reports said Friday. Turkish war planes continued to take off from Diyarbakir, the regional capital of the mainly Kurdish southeast. The Turkish army said Friday that the air and ground strikes against the rebels are "mainly" in Turkey. "While the majority of the land and air operations are in (Turkey), mainly in the Cukurca region, ground and air strikes are ongoing in a few points in northern Iraq across the border," the army said in a statement posted on its website.

#1: A landmine seriously wounded four children when it went off in north-west Kirkuk, police said.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: At least 13 Afghan civilians have been injured after a US-led airstrike targeting suspected Taliban militants hit a house in Afghanistan's northeastern province of Kunar. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) issued a statement on Friday and confirmed the incident, Reuters reported. The assault came after US-led foreign forces returned fire following an attack by militants. "Air assets arrived on the scene and during the incident one munition from a coalition aircraft fell short of the insurgent position, impacting a civilian house," ISAF statement said. On Wednesday, one Afghan civilian was killed and six others were kidnapped after US military forces attacked a residential area in eastern province of Nangarhar.

#2: NATO says "numerous" insurgents have been killed in an airstrike in a southern Afghan province. NATO says coalition and Afghan forces carried out the strike, targeting a group of Taliban fighters. It didn't give a precise number for killed insurgents and it was unclear when the strike took place.

#3: Militants armed with rockets and hand grenades attacked the house of a prominent anti-Taliban elder in Pakistan’s tribal belt on Friday, killing three people, officials said. The gunmen struck in the Minzari Chinaa area, 90 kilometres (55 miles) northwest of Ghalanai, the main town in the district of Mohmand where the military has conducted a series of operations against the Taliban. “A group of 45 militants attacked the house of Noor Mohammad, who heads the local peace committee, with hand grenades and rockets, killing his two sons and a daughter-in-law,” local official Javed Khan said.

#4: In the neighbouring tribal district of Bajaur, at least three gunmen shot dead a member of a local peace committee in Chinar, 45 kilometres northeast of Bajaur’s main town of Khar late Thursday, a local official said.

#5: A paramilitary vehicle hit a landmine in the northwestern region of Mohmand, wounding six soldiers, a government official in the region said. Hours later, security forces killed six Taliban and wounded three in a fight after militants attacked a paramilitary patrol in the same region, a government official said.

#6: Security forces shot dead a militant after he threw a hand grenade near a police checkpoint in the outskirts of Peshawar, wounding a passer-by and policeman, police said.

#7: Two suspected militants and one policeman were killed in a shootout in the northwestern town of Bannu, police said.

#8: A roadside bomb blast killed two soldiers and wounded three in the northwestern Khyber region on the Afghan border, a military spokesman said.

#9: Several insurgents were killed in a joint air strike by Afghan and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces in Zabul province, south-west of Kabul, the coalition said in a statement. No civilians were harmed, and two suspect insurgents were detained, it said.

DoD: Staff Sgt. Jorge M. Oliveira

DoD: Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border