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, July 27, 2012

War News for Friday, July 27, 2012

NATO is reporting the deaths of two ISAF soldiers from a roadside bombing in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, July 26th.

Pakistan suspends NATO supply route over security

Reported security incidents
#1: update A truck packed with explosives blew up in a crowded market in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, killing 11 people, as security concerns led officials to close temporarily a supply route to NATO troops in Afghanistan. The blast in Salarzai town in the Bajur tribal area near the Afghan border also wounded nearly two dozen people, some of them critically, and damaged several vehicles and shops, said Jehangir Azam, a local government administrator.

#2: A Buffalo soldier is recovering in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., from serious wounds he suffered in Afghanistan last week when his Humvee was blown up. Spec. Stephen Wagner was riding in the back seat of the Humvee at about 2 a.m. July 18 when it was struck by an improvised explosive device.

#3: At least three people were killed and four others got injured on Thursday night when a bomb blast hit Pakistan's northwestern tribal region of Khyber Agency, local media reported. According to the reports, the blast took place in the center of a banned militant organization Lashkar-e-Islam in the Akka Khel area of Khyber Agency, Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The improvised explosive device (IED) was fixed near a mosque and was triggered by a remote-controlled device when people were coming out of the mosque after offering prayer. In the result of the explosion three people were killed on the spot while four others got injured and were shifted to the nearby hospital.


dancewater said...

On the day that 12 British parliamentarians wrote a joint letter to The Times calling on President Obama to stop drone strikes in Pakistan, it has been revealed that RAF pilots flew US drones during the Libyan conflict last year.

The UK has repeatedly insisted, in response to questions about UK involvement in the US drone strikes in Pakistan for example, that it has only every operated drones over Afghanistan. However in a written answer in the House of Lords, on the last day before recess, UK Defence Minister Lord Astor revealed:

“Her Majesty’s government do not use armed remotely piloted air systems against terrorist suspects outside Afghanistan. However, UK personnel flew armed remotely piloted air systems missions against Gaddafi’s forces in Libya in 2011, in support of the Nato humanitarian mission authorised under UNSCR resolution 1973.”

The fact that it has now been admitted that RAF personnel controlled armed drones in the Libyan conflict last year – despite the repeated insistence by the MoD that UK has only ever operated armed drones in Afghanistan – underlines the need for much greater transparency from the MoD about the use of drones. It also begs the question of course, where else are they being used?

There is a real concern that the nature of these unmanned, remotely operated drones means they can be used to launch armed attacks clandestinely and without proper accountability. There is a now a clear need for proper parliamentary scrutiny of the growing use and development of armed drones by the UK.

The Letter to the Times from twelve British parliamentarians reads:

”As parliamentarians, we believe that unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks carried out by the United States are dangerously increasing resentment and anger among the people of Pakistan. This results in revenge attacks that could otherwise have been prevented. Since 2004, UAV covert missions – more often referred to as “drone attacks” – have been concentrated within Pakistan, thereby undermining the sovereignty of the nation, an ally to Britain in the war on terror.

Until very recently the United States refused to acknowledge the existence of such attacks. The Administration rejects allegations about the severity of the mass casualties, which it deems to be “collateral damage”, and instead prefers vaguely to refer to the strikes as “covert intelligence operations”.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, more than 3,000 deaths have occurred as a direct result of these secret strikes since they began in 2004, including hundreds of children and innocent civilians. The North Waziristan region of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas has experienced the heaviest concentration of drone attacks in recent years.

We urge the United States and Nato to stop these so-called “covert” CIA drone attacks, not least because they play into the hands of the extremists and terrorist recruiters but also because they undermine the sovereignty of Pakistan.”

Link here