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, November 5, 2012

War News for Monday, November 05, 2012

NATO is reporting the deaths of three ISAF soldiers from an IED blast in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, November 3rd.
NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from a non-combat related injuries in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Monday, November 5th.

U.S. soldier faces hearing in Afghanistan massacre

Local Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

Port Henry man killed in combat

Reported security incidents
#1: Security forces are continuing operation against militants in the suburban areas of Peshawar and today started action in Bara Sheikhan, FP News desk reported Monday. According to sources, security forces are conducting search and clearance operation in Bara Sheikhan area to restore peace in the restive region.

#2: A woman was killed and two more civilians were injured when a mortar round allegedly fired by the armed opponents landed in a house in Manogi district of Kunar province yesterday, officials said Sunday (November 04). The mortar shell was fired by the armed opponents during a gunfight with the Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers in Aomar area of Manogi district, the Kunar Governor Syed Fazlullah Wahidi told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP). The ANA soldiers did not suffer casualties in the gunfight, he said, adding he did not have information about the casualties to the armed opponents.

#3: According local authorities in eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan, armed clashes among the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban militants left at least four people dead in this province. Provincial governor Mosa Khan Akbarzada confirming the report said the incident took place following verbal clashes among the Pakistan and Taliban fighters. Mr. Akbarzada further added at least four people including two Pakistani Taliban and two Afghan Taliban militants were killed in Andar district in this province.

#4: In the meantime local authorities in western Farah province of Afghanistan announced at least 37 Taliban militants were killed or detained during special military operations by Afghan commandos. A spokesman for the Afgan special forces Nastu Nasiri said the operations were conducted by Afghan and coalition security forces in Gulistan district on Sunday. He said Afghan commandos and coalition security forces killed 7 Taliban militants and arrested 30 others during the operations without suffering any casualties and seized several weapons, ammunitions and explosives during the operations

#5: Unconfirmed reports suggest armed clashes at the fourth district of capital Kabul on Monday afternoon. The clashes have been reported in Deh-Kepak at Badam Bagh area and eyewitnesses and local residents in the area said that firing possibly sparked after security guards of an Afghan lawmakers clashed with the Afghan security forces

DoD: Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Kantor


Dancewater said...

People Have Changed: A Legacy of the US War in Iraq

by Cathy Breen, November 05, 2012

BAGHDAD — Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day in Baghdad. As I was visiting two families in widely different neighborhoods, I was able to traverse a large part of the city. I looked with eyes that have not seen Baghdad for nine years. Today, it is a city of stark contrasts. Bright new autos wherever one looks. I saw them up close as we waited endlessly in gridlocks due to checkpoints. Although I was not conspicuous with my gown and head covering, I was careful not to gaze around and gawk when we were stuck in traffic jams.

Despite the warm welcome I have received everywhere I have traveled on this trip to Iraq, I am conscious that I am from the U.S. In Baghdad especially where the violence has been continuous over the last nine years, I am equally aware that the barricades and checkpoints exist because of my country’s war of choice. And the concrete walls are everywhere.

If anyone thinks that the war is over in Iraq, I have only to open my “At a Glance” calendar where I have tried to note the number of Iraqi casualties each day over the last nine plus years: deaths due to explosions, bombs, assassinations. Just a few randomly selected numbers from 2012 (these are the number of dead, the number of wounded is of course much greater). 63, 54, 78, 97, 28, 36, 105, 24, 41, 115… the list goes on and on.

One of my hopes on this trip is to visit Iraqi families who have had to return from Syria. Having fled the violence in Iraq, they came to Syria where I met them as refugees. Now they are threatened once again, and there are no countries willing to take them. Many have returned to Iraq, and we are anxious to know how they are doing.

The parents of one family met us at Bab El Morat in Al Kadimiya, on the crowded street leading to the beautiful shrine of the Imam El Kadem Musa bin Jaffa.

The golden domes glistened in the sun. My senses came alive as the couple led us through a labyrinth of souqs, passed the multi-colored array of goods and the throngs of people to their humble, two-room apartment above the stalls.

What a joy to see this extended family again, the children now another year older. But the joy was tainted with sorrow as our friends related the details of their leaving Syria, and their disappointment in what they have found back in Iraq.

One mother returned to Iraq in Jan. 2012 with her three children. In Syria, the family had received threats that their daughter would be kidnapped if they didn’t leave. Her husband followed in March when he realized there was no hope to be resettled to the United States, at least from Syria where there was no longer a US embassy.

Just a few days ago there was an explosion nearby which has deeply shaken the family. I asked the oldest girl, a beautiful child now in sixth grade, how school was going. Not good, she answered. She described quite dramatically that last week there was a great explosion in her school. The teacher fled leaving the frightened students in the classroom. The door was locked and at first the kids hid under the desks. Later, when banging on the door proved futile, they managed to climb out through an opening above the door. She somewhat proudly showed me the bruises on her arm!

They asked “Do you think we can be resettled to the U.S.?” I try to explain gently but realistically what the economic situation in the United States looks like with people out of work and losing homes and benefits. Not to mention the cultural differences. The father was adamant, saying, “But there are explosions here and people are being killed! We are afraid for the children. … People have changed here, even our families. It is not like it was in the past, when people looked after one another.”

Dancewater said...

The second family we visited had arrived only two weeks ago to their newly rented apartment, a two-room dwelling reached by rather treacherous metal stairs. They are paying $500 a month (includes electricity and generator costs), using money borrowed from both sides of the family. I was appalled by the amount. The family fled Syria in Aug. of 2012. The mother and their four children went to live with her family in an area of Iraq that has been quite violent. “There you can rent a big house for $100 a month, because it is so dangerous with militias. Here it costs $500 to live in a safe area.” The father went to Erbil, in northern Iraq, to look for work. He returned to Syria three weeks later to find their apartment burned and their belongings gone. He stayed only three days in Syria before returning again to Iraq.

They mother and children looked exhausted, especially the mother. She cries each day. She and her husband have been going from house to house until now.

Except for the little toddler who doesn’t know me, the children greet me warmly. The oldest son was traumatized by the war in Iraq. His friend and classmate was killed before his eyes, and he has always had a haunted look about him. A handsome boy, he has grown a foot since I last saw him and is very thin. As we visit I look at the youngest son whom I have known for at least four years now. No, I am not mistaken. He has a visible facial twitch. He has always been the family clown and I have pictures of him over the years making funny faces. He is about 7 or 8 years old now and painfully thin. Their baby girl is now fifteen months old. She too is pale and thin. The government has promised each returnee a sum of money, 4 million Iraqi dinars, the equivalent of $3,200. This family hasn’t received a penny. They owe money. The father is looking for work. They too asked me if they could be resettled in the United States. Once again I spoke of the obstacles they would face in the United States. “People have changed,” the father said sadly. “The war has destroyed the inside of humanity.”

Afterward in the taxi, driving past the ubiquitous concrete blast walls, I ponder the legacies of war and wonder how a city heals and how we can begin to break down the barriers.

Dancewater said...

The above is just an example of the massive, massive evil that people like thewiz have brought to the world.