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

Monday, March 19, 2012

War News for Monday, March 19, 2012

Retired general: Afghan killings fallout could see troop return within weeks

Drones at Issue as U.S. Rebuilds Ties to Pakistan

Reported security incidents
#1: Villagers found 14 bullet-ridden bodies in the northwestern Khyber tribal region near the Afghanistan border Sunday, as Pakistani security forces stepped up military offensives against militants. Sunday's discovery was made two days after 12 bodies, also bearing signs of torture and numerous bullet wounds, were discovered in the area. Villagers said the bodies were of people arrested in recent days by the military's Frontier Corps and their faces had been removed by acid to hamper identification. Government officials denied the allegations of both arrests and killings. A security official said fighting against the banned Lashkar-e-Islam had killed 25 gunmen and four soldiers in the past week.

#2: At least eight people were killed and 15 others wounded in clashes between Pakistani troops and militants in the restive north-western tribal belt, officials said on Monday. Four militants and one soldier were killed when militants stormed a security forces check point late Sunday in Miranshah, the main town of lawless North Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan. The military retaliated with an assault early Monday on suspected militant hide outs outside the town, but the attack left three civilians dead and 15 wounded, security officials said. "Militants attacked our check point in Miranshah on Sunday evening and killed one soldier, we retaliated... and shot dead four militants," a senior security official told AFP. On Monday morning "we fired shells and destroyed five shops in Datakhel near Miranshah," from where military convoys had recently come under attack, he said. Two security officials confirmed the civilian deaths in Monday's attack, but the military refused to do so. "Three civilians were killed and 15 were injured when the security forces fired shells at the suspected militant hide outs," one of the officials said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

#3: Afghan defense ministry following a statement on Monday announced at least 7 Afghan national army soldiers were killed and injured in southern Kandahar province. The statement further added, at least 3 Afghan army soldiers were killed and 4 others were injured during the past 24 in this province.

#4: According to local authorities in eastern Nangarhar province, at least 2 people were arrested by NATO-led international coalition security forces following a military operation in this province. The officials further added, the operation was conducted in Chaparhar district of eastern Nangarhar province and the 2 individuals detained are the local residents. In the meantime tribal elders in Chaparhar district emphasize that the detained individuals does not have any connections with any insurgents group and urged for their freedom.

#5: According to local authorities in eastern Khost province, at least 2 militant suspects who were planting roadside bombs were killed and another suspect was injured following an air raid by coalition security forces in this province. The officials further added, the militants were killed and injured at Deri area in central region of eastern Khost province. Provincial Security Chief for eastern Khost province Gen. Mohammad Yaqoob said, the incident took place around 9 pm local time on Saturday night.

#6: According to local authorities in western Herat province, at least 3 Afghan national police forces were injured following a roadside bomb explosion in this province. The officials further added, the incident took place at Oryai area in Shindand district around (Sunday) 11:00 am local time. The main target of the explosion was the convoy of the Afghan national police forces which were crossing the area, the officials said.

DoD: 2nd Lt. Clovis T. Ray