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

Saturday, July 21, 2012

War News for Saturday, July 21, 2012

Turkey-Iraq oil pipeline attacked

Reported security incidents
#1: A suicide bomber killed nine people and wounded 17 others during an attack at the home of a Taliban commander in northwestern Pakistan Saturday, officials said. This explosion was part of a series of attacks that left at least 20 people dead Saturday, as the Muslim holy of month of Ramadan begins. This incident occurred in a village in Kurram, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan, said Zakir Hussain, a senior government official in the area. Five militants and four children were killed in the attack, Hussain said. The explosion occurred at the entrance of the home that was used by a Taliban commander and also as a meeting place for militants, Hussain said.

#2: In another attack, a roadside bomb blast killed four people and wounded eight others in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said Muhammad Ali Shah, a senior government official.

#3: In a different attack, armed militants killed seven paramilitary soldiers. This incident occurred in Balochistan province when six gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint.

#4: Four civilians died and two were wounded when their mini-van hit a roadside bomb Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, an official said, dpa reported. "The incident took place ... in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province when a civilian mini-van was heading towards Jalalabad city, the provincial capital," said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the provincial governor's spokesman.

#5: Six insurgents had been killed and three others detained in military operations within the past 24 hours, the Afghan Interior Ministry said Saturday. "Afghan police, army and coalition forces launched seven joint cleanup operations in Takhar, Kandahar, Zabul, Herat, Farah and Helmand provinces, killing six armed Taliban insurgents and detaining three others," the ministry said in a statement.

#6: At least four people were injured when some unidentified militants fired at shops near paramilitary forces' headquarters in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar on Friday morning, local media reported. The incident happened at about 11:30 a.m. (local time) when two unknown gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire at grocery shops at Frontier road of Peshawar, the capital city of Pakistan's northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

#7: According to local authorities in western Herat province of Afghanistan, at least 3 Afghan police officers were killed following an attack by Taliban militants on a security check post in this province. The officials further added the incident took place on Friday night at Guzara district and as a result at least 2 Taliban militants were also killed. District security commander for Guzara was also reportedly killed following the clashes, local officials said. Provincial security chief Abdul Hamid Hamidi said the clashes started after a vehicle of the Afghan police forces was attacked by Taliban militants in Joi Malan area.

DoD: Spc. Krystal M. Fitts


dancewater said...

Artist's work rises from Baghdad's ashes

As Baghdad burned, Iraqi artist Qasim Sabti headed for one of the places he loved the most - the Academy of Fine Arts - only to find thousands of its books and archives on fire
Reuters, Wednesday 18 Jul 2012

Iraqi artist Qasim Sabti speaks about the 2003 U.S.-led invasion during an interview with Reuters in Baghdad, July 11, 2012. As Baghdad burned in 2003, Sabti headed for one of the places he loved the most - the Academy of Fine Arts - only to find thousands of its books and archives on fire.
It was April 2003 and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, begun in March, had reached the capital.

Sabti, who had seen the blaze from his balcony in central Baghdad, recounts the destruction of 6,000 books on art and how he tried to recover just a handful from the flames.

"I tried to save a Russian landscape book. I loved it, I always looked at Russian artists for how to do landscapes and used them to teach my students," he said.

"I see this book and this huge fire, so I put my hand out to save this book. The fire touched my fingers and the text fell into the fire and the only the cover of the book stayed in my hand."

The loss of the books was a huge blow for the academy, which had struggled to build up its collection in recent years as a result of sanctions and meager funding.

But for Sabti, the damaged books also became a source of artistic inspiration that stayed with him for nearly a decade.

"When I looked at this cover, I saw something artistic - the secret life of the text," he said, pointing to the delicate webbed binding of a hardback book, dissected by fire and water.

Sabti used pieces of the books to create angular abstract collages, layering the tactile covers with pages and paint.

The 58-year-old encourages visitors to his small gallery in Baghdad to touch the artworks and stare closely at pieces that make up the works, such as a librarian's stamp or scribbled Arabic notes in the margins. He later started printing enlarged images of the books on canvas.


Since 2003 he has held exhibitions in Paris, New York, Tokyo and Kyoto. In his home country artists struggle more than ever to make a living, if they remain in Iraq at all, he said.

"Very few people have stayed. It is like we are the Last of the Mohicans," he said from his gallery, which exhibits paintings and sculptures from Iraqi artists.

Frequent power cuts mean that Iraq's ceramics tradition has all but died out, Sabti said, gesturing towards a handful of small pieces in the gallery made by one of the teachers at the academy.

"It has been 10 years without ceramics. There are maybe now five ceramic artists in all of Iraq. Maybe before you could find 500."

Baghdad now hosts only two private galleries, he said, whereas before 2003 there were more than 20. Officials, middle class Iraqi families and foreign visitors have fled, leaving a dwindling number of people who might promote or buy art.

While violence has eased in Iraq from its post-war peak in 2006-7 when sectarian attacks killed tens of thousands, a series of recent bombings has highlighted the huge security challenges still facing the country.

Last month at least 237 people were killed and 603 wounded in attacks, mainly bombings, making June one of the bloodiest months since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of last year.

Yet there is a glimmer of hope for Sabti and his peers. Last week the government promised him funding for 24 exhibitions in his gallery to showcase the country's artistic talent. He says it the first time he has ever been offered state funding.

"Because there used to be many visitors interested in art I did not care if the government helped me or not. Now, really, we need some help," he said.

"I have not got this money yet, when I have it, I will say that help has come."

dancewater said...


dancewater said...

What the US has done to Iraq and Afghanistan is an almost unimaginable war crime....... right up there with the Nazis.