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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

War News for Thursday, September 18, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: A security man was killed in a blast in Balochistan's troubled Kech district on Thursday, a security official said. A security official, who requested anonymity, told Dawn that militants targeted a security forces' vehicle in Shapuk area of Turbat. He said one security man was killed in the attack. "The vehicle was targeted with a remote-controlled bomb," he added.

#2: In another incident, armed men killed a police officer in the Double Road area of Quetta on late Wednesday night. Imran Qureshi, the Superintedent of Police, told Dawn that armed militants opened fire on a police assistant sub-inspector (ASI), and killed him on the spot. He said the assailants fled from the scene after launching the attack.

#3: Tajik border guards killed an Afghan drug smuggler and wounded two others Wednesday on the Tajik-Afghan border, in Shuroabad district of Khatlon province, Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security (SCNS) said on Thursday.

#4: Defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi confirmed that three Afghan soldiers were martyred in improvised explosive device (IED) attack.

#5: At least 22 Taliban militants including Punjabi insurgents were killed following clashes with the Afghan security forces in Kunar province.

DoD: Sgt. Charles C. Strong

DoD: Maj. Michael J. Donahue

DoD: Civ. Stephen Byus

Pol/MoD: Sergeant RafaƂ Celebudzki

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

War News for Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reynoldsburg Ohio Reservist Killed In Afghanistan -- Stephen Byus

Over 1,500 Afghan policemen martyred since the start of the year

Reported security incidents
#1: A provincial security official said on Wednesday that Taliban fighters killed six Afghan policemen in an ambush in western Afghanistan. Raouf Ahmadi, spokesman for the provincial police chief in Herat province said that six other police were wounded in the assault late Tuesday. Mr. Ahmadi said that eight Taliban fighters were also killed in the battle.

#2: The Pakistan army Wednesday said fighter jets bombed positions of militants in the North Waziristan tribal region and killed 40 local and foreign militants.

#3: Two militants were on Wednesday killed in an encounter with security forces near the Line of Control (LoC) in Macchil Sector of Kashmir Valley. “In the wee hours today, two unknown terrorists were killed in Macchil Sector in an encounter with troops,” an Army spokesman said.

#4: At least three Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were martyred following improvised explosive device (IED) explosion, defense officials said Wednesday. Defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi said the three Afghan soldies were martyred in the past 24 hours.

#5: A female journalist was murdered by unidentified men in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan. The female journalistm – Palwasha Tokhi Miranzai was reportedly working for Bayan-e-Shamal new network. According to reports, Miranzai was repeatedly stabbed by unidentified men inside her house in Mazar-e-Sharif city.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

War News for Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from an ANA soldier who turned his weapon against an ISAF soldier in western Afghanistan on Monday September 15th. News reports that an ANA soldier shot his trainer in Herat Province. 
NATO is reporting the deaths of three ISAF soldiers from an insurgant attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, September 16th. News reports that a sucide bomber attacked a NATO convoy killing at least three soldiers including a Polish soldier.

Military suicides outnumbered deaths in Afghanistan, new stats show (Canadian Army)

Reported security incidents
#1: A group of militants attacked a Pakistan army post from neighboring Afghanistan Tuesday morning, sparking a shootout that left 11 insurgents and three soldiers killed. A group of terrorists" crossed over from Afghanistan and attacked the army's Dandi Kuch post in North Waziristan before fleeing back, the military said in a statement.

#2: Also Tuesday, Pakistani warplanes targeted three militant hideouts in a Taliban stronghold in the Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border, killing at least 20 insurgents.

#3: An Frontier Corps (FC) vehicle was partially damaged in an explosion on Joint Road in Quetta on Tuesday. However, no loss of life was reported in the blast. “The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) packed in a cooking oil box was planted beside the Shaheed Benazeer Bhutto flyover on Joint Road. An explosion was caused as the detonator of the IED exploded, and splinters and other destructive objects were spread on the site,” an official at the scene of the blast told reporters.

#4: a suicide bomber blew himself up in a parking lot of oil tankers in the border town of Torkham linking Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province to Peshawar of Pakistan late Monday night, burning to ashes more than 20 oil tankers.

#5: At least two civilians were killed and three others were injured following an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in southern Helmand province.

#6: Taliban militants beheaded a religious cleric in central Uruzgan province of Afghanistan, local officials said Tuesday.

Monday, September 15, 2014

War News for Monday, September 15, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Pakistani authorities say militants killed three people in attacks targeting police in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province on September 15. In Tahll, a city near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region, one police officer was killed when six militants attacked a police station. Authorities say the officer was killed when a suicide attacker detonated a bomb. Further south, in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, militants attacked the home of a police station chief, killing two of his brothers.

#2: A man was killed Monday when armed men attacked a polio campaign team in Pakistan's Balochistan province. According to a campaign official, armed men opened fire at the team in Pishin's Karbala area, Dawn online reported.

#3: Seven suspected militants were killed following a US drone strike on the Pak-Afghan border area. The strike was reportedly carried out at the Pak-Afghan border on zero line with Paktika province along the South Waziristan Agency.

#4: In the latest bloody incident which occurred in the northern Baghlan province, one police personnel was killed and seven civilians injured, a local official said. "The blast took place near Baghlan-e-Markazi District bazaar at around 10:30 a.m. local time today. The bomb went off when a police vehicle was passing the area as a result one police in the vehicle was killed and seven civilians including two children at nearby wounded," the District Governor Gohar Khan Babri told Xinhua.

#5: In a related incident, the security forces raided Taliban hideout in the western Herat province early Monday morning leaving five militants including a senior commander dead, police contended.

#6: Afghan security forces have pressed on to clear the militants in restive provinces and killed 52 militants in the latest operations, the country's Interior Ministry said on Monday.

#7: A civilian wounded in firing of Pakisani rocket attacks from other side of Durand Line on Kunr province last night.

#8: At least four Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were martyred following an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion. Defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi said the four Afghan Naional Army (ANA) soldiers were martyred during the past 24 hours.

#9: A suicide bomber was shot dead by Afghan police forces in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan on Sunday, local officials said.

#10: At least six people were injured after an Afghan army helicopter collided with a wall in central Daikundi province of Afghanistan. Defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi said at least one person was killed and three others were injured following the crash of the helicopter. In the meantime, Dawlat Waziri, deputy spokesman for the ministry of defense of Afghanistan has said at least eight people including two pilots of the helicopter and six members of the quick reaction forces were injured.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, September 14, 2014

Member of Parliament General Ali Akbar Qasimi is injured by an explosion while he is exercising at a gym.

Taliban attack security checkpoints in Ghazni province. Government spokesman claims 40 militants killed, including many from Pakistan, with no mention of any government casualties. However, Taliban claim 3 police killed and 5 injured. As usual, we should treat casualty reports with skepticism, as there are no journalists working in the area.

Drone strike on the border between Paktika province and South Waziristan said to kill 7 militants. Although the story refers to a drone strike by "coalition forces" this of course means the U.S. A second strike in Kunar apparently also killed a Taliban commander.

We have linked before to stories about the cultural institution of sexual exploitation of boys in Afghanistan. The Ministry of the Interior (famous for preposterous accounts of battlefield success and invulnerability) held a meeting with police leaders to discuss the practice of firing into the air during celebrations. Apparently children are often forced to dance at wedding ceremonies and (the story is not clear) are sexually abused, and this also came up. The story then goes on to note that the "Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan (AIHRC) released its latest report on ‘Bacha Bazi’ – sexual abuse of teenage boys in Afghanistan last month, stating that influential figures as well as wealthy people in Afghanistan are hiring teenage boys aged between 10 to 18 years old for their sexual satisfaction."

Following intimidation and threats against its workers in the extended electoral dispute, the UN threatens to withdraw aid  if the harassment continues. WAPO also has extensive coverage of the problem. The city of Mazar-e-Sharif is of particular concern as it is home to many Tajiks who favor Abdullah. (It is clear that Abdullah will not accept the results if Ghani is declared the winner, which seems to be where things are headed.)

Meanwhile, in Iraq and Syria, the political situation is at least as complex as the military situation. The peshmerga, with U.S. air support, are advancing on Mosul. All well and good but Mosul is of course an Arab, not a Kurdish city. What exactly happens if the Kurds capture Mosul from IS is a bit of a mystery. Meanwhile, an Iranian legislator claims that the U.S. war on IS is actually a conspiracy to occupy Syria. (I don't normally link to Fars as it is not a reliable news source but it is a reliable source of Iranian propaganda. The idea is that IS is a creation of the Gulf monarchies and the U.S. should cut off support to them instead of invading Syria.)  Australia goes back into Iraq with 600 troops and 10 aircraft, while U.S. military "advisers" enter Ramadi. (The Iraqis seem to need a lot of advice, for some reason.) British PM David Cameron calls and emergency meeting following the beheading of British aid worker David Haines in the lates IS video. It is possible that Britain, which has so far refrained from joining in combat against IS, will now take part in the air campaign. Human Rights Watch calls for an investigation of an Iraqi air strike on September 1 which hit a school housing displaced persons in al-Alam, near Tikrit, which killed 31 civilians including 24 children.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

War News for Saturday, September 13, 2014

Afghan election commission delays vote results

Reported security incidents
#1: Armed militants attacked a container carrying equipment for US and Nato troops in Pakistan's bordering town with Afghanistan on Saturday, police said. Wahab Khan, a police official, told Dawn that armed militants opened fire at a Nato container in the Bypass area of Chaman and injured its driver and cleaner.

#2: A car bomb exploded in a bazaar in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least three people and wounding 24 others, police officials said. Saturday's attack took place when a vehicle carrying security forces was passing through a bazaar near Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province, senior police officer Abdur Razzak Cheema said. The dead included a paramilitary soldier and two civilians, Cheema told the Associated Press news agency.

#3: Unknown gunmen early on Saturday killed a Khasadar force man along with his wife in Bara Tehsil of the northwestern tribal region of Khyber. Official sources said the tribal policeman was going out of his house in Shalobar Qambarabad area of Khyber Agency when the assault left him and his wife dead on the spot.

#4: Fifteen armed militants were killed and seventeen others wounded in clashes between ANA forces and Taliban in Manogi district, Kunar province this morning. Shojaul-Malik Jalala governor of Kunar province said BNA, the clashes started while a group of Taliban militants attacked on different parts of Manogi district. In the attacks, three ANA forces were also martyred and four others wounded.

#5: 90 rockets were fired by Pakistani forces on different parts of Kunar province last night which had no casualties.

#6: The driver of the abducted Pakistani engineers was killed by kidnappers in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan.

#7: A group of Taliban militants launched attack on a government compound in eastern Paktia province of Afghanistan early Saturday. According to local government officials, the attack was carried out by a group of at least 40 Taliban militants on Jani Khel district government compound. He said the district chief was not in the office when the attack was launched and the Afghan security forces did not suffer any casualties during the clashes.

Friday, September 12, 2014

War News for Friday, September 12, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Eighteen Taliban militants have been killed in fresh military operations across Afghanistan, said the country's Interior Ministry on Friday morning.

#2: Two armed Taliban lost their lives and four others wounded in recent clashes in Kandahar province last night. The clashes occurred between police forces and Taliban in Maiwand and Zheri districts of the province. The clashes started while police forces attacked on three hideouts of Taliban in the districts.