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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

War News for Thursday, November 20, 2012

Maine soldier returns home 5 months after attack in Afghanistan

Wounded in Afghanistan: 'I'm just so thankful to be alive'

500 French combat troops exit tense Afghan region

Reported security incidents
#1: Gunmen on Tuesday killed the driver of a NATO supply truck in northwest Pakistan on the Afghan border, officials said. The shooting took place in the Jamrud area of Khyber, one of seven districts in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt where Taliban and Islamist militants are active. “Two gunmen on a motorcycle fired at a NATO truck and killed its driver when a convoy of three trucks was passing,” local government official Asmatullah Wazir told AFP. He said an assistant of the driver was wounded and that the gunmen escaped.

#2: A six-year-old girl was killed while a woman and her nine-year-old son were injured when shells fired by militants from across the Afghan border hit houses in the Charmang area of Bajaur Agency on Monday. The shells hit two houses in Hilal Khel Border village in late afternoon, killing six-year-old Asma and injuring one Haya Bibi and her son Inamullah, said a security force official.

#3: helicopters on Monday pounded militant hideouts in North Waziristan, killing as many as four and injuring several others, according to a private TV channel. According to reports, the gunship attacked militant hideouts in Mir Ali area of the North Waziristan Agency.

#4: A roadside bomb struck a police van in the western Farah province, killing a police officer and injuring two others on Tuesday, an official said. "A roadside bomb planted by Taliban militants on the road leading to Farah airfield was detonated by remote control at 02:05 p.m. local time, leaving a police official dead and injuring two others," deputy to provincial police chief Mohammad Ghous Malyar told Xinhua. The blast took place near the airstrip and the person killed in the incident is a Taliban former commander named Noor Mohammad Jan who had recently switched side and joined the government, the official added.

#5: Provincial governor and security chief for southern Helmand province of Afghanistan escaped a life attempt attack in this province, local authorities said. A local security official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the incident took place in Sangin district on Monday. According to reports provincial governor Gen. Mohammad Naim Baloch and provincial security chief Abdul Nabi Elham were on their way to attend a session which was attended by a number of foreign ambassadors along with Zerar Ahmad Muqbil Afghan counter-narcotics minister. This comes as former provincial governor Gulab Mangal escaped militants attack in this district earlier.

#6: In the meantime local officials in Helmand province said at least 2 Afghan police officers and 2 Taliban militants were killed following armed clashes in this province. A spokesman for Helmand governor Farid Ahmad Farang said a four day joint military operation by Afghan police and army has been launched to clear the militants in Nawa district.


Dancewater said...

5.3 million Children in Iraq still deprived of many rights

BAGHDAD, 20 November 2012 – On Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF calls for urgent action for Iraq’s most vulnerable children.

“Every third child in Iraq, or about 5.3 million children, is still currently deprived of many of their fundamental rights,” said UNICEF’s Representative to Iraq, Dr. Marzio Babille.

“UNICEF calls on all stakeholders - in government, civil society, the private sector and the international community - to urgently invest in these children to respect their dignity and give them an equal chance to become healthy, productive young citizens of the new Iraq,” Dr. Babille stated.

Child rights violations across Iraq that need to be addressed include: inadequate access to and promotion of health services; lack of access to quality education; violence against children in schools and families; psychological trauma from years of extreme violence; discrimination; prolonged detention in juvenile facilities; insufficient attention to the special needs of children with disabilities and who are not in their family environment; and lack of access to information and participation in cultural life.

While the majority of children in Iraq experience at least one violation of their fundamental rights, around 1.7 million children, or 10 per cent of all Iraqi children, have most of their rights fulfilled.

“There are extreme disparities amongst Iraq’s 16.6 million children,” noted Dr. Babille. “Our collective challenge now is to narrow these gaps between those children who are marginalized, having very limited opportunities to improve their well-being, and the children who have every opportunity to fully progress in their lives.”

“Iraq’s National Development Plan, which is currently being revised, is the ideal place to start robustly planning the expanded delivery of essential services across Iraq that will narrow this gap.”

UNICEF is working with the Government of Iraq and partners to ensure children’s rights and best interests are included in policies and that equitable approaches that prioritize the most marginalized children are adopted.

“UNICEF remains unwavering in its commitment to support the Government protect all children’s rights and build an Iraq that is fit for all children,” stated Dr. Babille.

Today is the 23rd anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which lays the foundational principles from which all children’s rights must be achieved, and calls for the provision of specific resources, skills and contributions necessary to ensure the survival and development of children to their maximum capability. Iraq ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994.

Note to Editors:
The facts and figures cited in this press release have been taken from a new national Government of Iraq and UNICEF survey on the situation of children and women in Iraq, which will be officially released in December 2012.

Dancewater said...

US battles Iraq and Afghanistan over detention without charges

Never thought I would ever see something this hideous in my lifetime in this country.