The present-day U.S. military qualifies by any measure as highly professional, much more so than its Cold War predecessor. Yet the purpose of today’s professionals is not to preserve peace but to fight unending wars in distant places. Intoxicated by a post-Cold War belief in its own omnipotence, the United States allowed itself to be drawn into a long series of armed conflicts, almost all of them yielding unintended consequences and imposing greater than anticipated costs. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. forces have destroyed many targets and killed many people. Only rarely, however, have they succeeded in accomplishing their assigned political purposes. . . . [F]rom our present vantage point, it becomes apparent that the “Revolution of ‘89” did not initiate a new era of history. At most, the events of that year fostered various unhelpful illusions that impeded our capacity to recognize and respond to the forces of change that actually matter.

Andrew Bacevich

Friday, February 28, 2014

War News for Friday, February 28, 2014

Pakistani party ends blockade of NATO route

Reported security incidents
#1: Five policemen, including a senior officer were killed in different clashes in northern Faryab and Kunduz provinces of Afghanistan, officials said Thursday. Abdul Qadir Qaderi, Pashtunkot district chief of Faryab, said police commander, Dastan, and three of his associates were killed in a rocket attack fired by Taliban. Separately, in northern Kunduz province, unidentified gunmen stormed the house of a police officer killing him and wounding his wife.

#2: Meanwhile, residents in the Hisarak district of eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan have launched an uprising against insurgent groups in the area, a public move that made way for a military operation of the Afghan security forces against the militants.

#3: At least three militants were killed and three other injured when exchange of fire took place between militants and security forces in Khyber Agency, Tehsil Bara on Friday Morning. According to the security sources, the forces signalled to stop some motorcyclists in Shalobar area of Bara tehsil however the motorcyclists started firing in a bid to flee the scene. The forces retaliated the fire, killing three militants and injuring three others. Two security personnel also sustained injuries during the encounter

#4: At least three border guards of neighboring Turkmenistan were killed following an attack by Taliban militants, local officials in Badghis province said. The officials further added that the incident took place on Wednesday night in Moqor district of Badghis province.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

War News for Thursday, February 27, 2014

Warlords With Dark Pasts Battle in Afghan Election

Reported security incidents
#1: Two Afghan army soldiers were killed in roadside bombings, said the country's Defense Ministry on Thursday. "Two Afghan National Army personnel were martyred in two improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Panjwai district of Kandahar and Gereshk district of neighboring Helmand province," the ministry said in a statement.

#2: The military gunship helicopters bombarded the militant hideouts in South Waziristan Agency and Dera Ismail Khan on Thursday, killing several terrorists. According to security sources, three gunship helicopters carried out surgical strikes on the militant compounds in mountains bordering South Waziristan and Karachi Tehsil of DI Khan early today.  Source sources said that several people were killed in the airstrike, however, didn’t confirm the exact number of causalities.

#3: According to local authorities in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, at least 50 militants were killed in a series of operations in this province. Provincial security chief, Fazal Ahmad Sherzad said Wednesday that the militants were killed during the past five days in Hesarak district.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

War News for Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pakistan plans military operation in North Waziristan, targeting extremist groups

Trust Eroded, Obama Looks Beyond Karzai

Reported security incidents
#1: Afghan officials say a suicide car bomber killed seven people and wounded 42 in an attack on a crowded restaurant in the southern part of the country. Gen. Matiullah Khan, police chief of Uruzgan province, said the explosion took place Tuesday evening in Tirin Kot, southern Afghanistan.

#3: The Afghan Interior Ministry on Wednesday said that 37 militants were killed during security operations across the country within the last 24 hours.

#4: Earlier on Wednesday, a would-be suicide bomber was arrested and his suicide jacket was defused by police in northern province of Kunduz, the deputy provincial police chief Ebadullah Talwar told Xinhua, adding police launched an investigation into the case but the target of the attack remained unknown.

#5: Afghan intelligence operatives foiled coordinated attacks in western Ghor province of Afghanistan, National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

War News for Tuesday, February 25, 2014

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF civilian from a non-combat related incident in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, February 24th.

Bhatkal claimed nuclear bomb available in Pakistan: NIA

Reported security incidents
#1: Pakistani fighter jets and gunship helicopters bombarded hideouts of Taliban militants in the troubled North and South Waziristan Agencies on Tuesday killing at least thirty militants, Geo News reported.

#2: Three students were killed on Tuesday by a bomb hidden in a motorcycle in front of their school in southern Afghanistan, an official said. “The incident took place in Marjah district, three other students were wounded,” said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the governor of Helmand province. He said all the victims were young men 20 to 21 years old.

#3: At least two paramilitary soldiers were killed in a suicide attack close to the Iranian consulate in Pakistan's Peshawar city Monday, media reports said. A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest near the Frontier Corps (FC) check post close to Iranian Consulate which left nine others inured, reports said.

#4: At least 8 insurgents were killed and heavy poppy and ammunitions seized in southern province of Kandahar, governor office said in a statement Tuesday. According to the statement, a 24-hour operation was launched in restive Saydan village of Panjwaye district, where eight insurgents were killed and a quantity of opium and ammunitions seized.

Monday, February 24, 2014

War News for Monday, February 24, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Pakistani fighter jets pounded suspected militant hideouts in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency bordering Afghanistan as officials claimed to have killed scores of terrorists in the early morning strikes, officials said on Sunday. Security officials said over 20 insurgents were killed and scores injured when military jets pounded their hideouts this morning.

#2: Pakistani intelligence officials and militant commanders say gunmen have killed a top leader of the country's Taliban in a tribal region near Afghan border. The four officials and two militants say Asmatullah Shaheen Bitani and three aides died in the Monday shooting in North Waziristan. Bitani's cousin also confirmed his death.

#3: A bomb planted at a busy bus terminal near a police station in northwest Pakistan killed 14 people and wounding 15 near the country's lawless tribal region, authorities said. The explosion Sunday targeted passengers in a motorized rickshaw and those on a minibus in Kohat, some 150 kilometers (100 miles) west of the capital, Islamabad, police official Iqbal Khan said.

#4: It was reported from Miranshah that three rockets were fired at the camp of the security forces located in the area. All three rockets were fired from unknown directions during the night. Fortunately, no one was found injured or dead after the attack. 

#5: Afghanistan ministry of defense in a statement said Monday that three government armed oppositions were killed and two others wounded during a series of the forces operation in southern Kandahar province.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hoo boy. In an apparent cross-border attack from Pakistan, hundreds of insurgents attack Afghan soldiers in Ghazi Abad, Kunar province, killing at least 21. Additional soldiers are missing. (Reports of the death toll vary somewhat at this writing.) "Gen. Abdul Habib Sayedkhaili - chief of police for Kunar Province - said that there were around 30 Afghan soldiers manning the outpost when insurgents attacked from three sides with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and light weapons." Sporadic fighting continues as Afghan forces are said to be chasing the attackers. In a statement, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said two of their own had been killed. A suicide attack on reinforcements approaching the area was said to be unsuccessful.

Afghan Taliban suspend talks over U.S. POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The indirect talks, mediated by Qatar, contemplated exchanging Bergdahl for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The Taliban cite the "complex political situation" in Afghanistan in the announcement, without elaboration. Bergdahl has been held since 2009. (Interestingly, we have to read about this via CBC. U.S. media seem completely uninterested.)

Afghan Interior Ministry categorically denies claim by Pakistan made on Thursday that 23 Pakistan Frontier Corps personnel had been summarily executed inside Pakistan. The ministry says simply that no such incident occurred, adding:

Foreign Affairs Ministry in its statement, said, “While we will investigate the matter thoroughly, it is our belief that any terrorist act in our region is the outcome of the short-sighted policy of using extremism and terrorism as a means of strategic influence and pursuing misperceived national interest. It is impossible to nurture venomous snakes on one’s soil and wishfully think that they will only bite others.”

Afghan forces said to destroy 1,300 kilograms of hashish and cannabis seeds near Kandahar. Announcement states that the drug trade funds the insurgency. (That was actually 900 Kg of hash, which is about a ton.)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

War News for Saturday, February 22, 2014

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from a non-combat related incident in an undisclosed location in northern Afghanistan on Friday, February 22nd.

Balochistan: The untold story of Pakistan's other war

Reported security incidents
#1: Four would-be suicide bombers were killed as their explosive device went off prematurely in former Taliban stronghold of southern Kandahar province on Friday, Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday. "A group of four suicide bombers linked to Taliban group were killed by their own explosive device while they were organizing some terrorist attacks in Tora Bagh village, Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province, yesterday," the statement said. The incident took place in a house where a child and two others were also killed.

#2: Militant attacks in three districts of Helmand Province killed five civilians including two women, officials said February 21. The Taliban killed a family of four, including two women, when a rocket they fired hit a home in the Jazi area of Nawzad District, Pajhwok Afghan News reported provincial police spokesman Col. Abdul Ahad Chopan as saying. A roadside blast in the Shawal area of Nade Ali District killed another civilian. A security operation in the Malakhan and Sra Qala areas of Khanshin District killed one rebel and led to nine arrests, border police officer Mohammad Maroof Babakarkhel said.

#3: A roadside bomb targeting a local leader of a nationalist party in northwest Pakistan killed three people and wounded two others on Saturday, police said. The incident took place in Buner district in the troubled northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, close to Swat Valley where Taliban insurgents shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in the head.

#4: Officials in northwest Pakistan say military gunship helicopters have carried out a strike against a militant hideout, killing nine suspected insurgents. Authorities say the military launched the strike Saturday in the village of Thal in the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

#5: A famer was killed when his tractor hit a roadside mine allegedly planted by insurgents to target the security forces in Khogyani village of Maruf district in southern province of Kandahar, governor office said Saturday.

#6: A person suspected to be a bomb carrier was killed when an explosion occurred in Nasir Bagh area here on Saturday. According to police the blast took place early in the morning in Juma Khan Khwar area and when police reached the area they found the body of an unknown person near the spot of blast.

#7: Four people were killed in an attack in western Afghan province of Herat overnight, an official said on Saturday. "Several militants carried out an attack on Afghan Local Police (ALP) security checkpoint at midnight. One ALP cop, a civilian and two militants were killed during the exchange of fire in Obe district, northeast of provincial capital Herat city," the district governor Shir Agha Alokozai told Xinhua, adding four militants were wounded.

#8: Two policemen were killed and three others wounded as a roadside bomb struck police van in northern Afghan province of Kunduz on Saturday, police said.

#9: Units of Afghan police backed by the army have killed four armed Taliban militants and arrested 21 others across the country over the past 24 hours, Interior Ministry said in a statement released here Saturday.

Friday, February 21, 2014

War News for Friday, February 21, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Militants attacked a police compound near Kabul with explosives and guns on Friday, setting off an hour-long firefight that left one officer dead and four wounded, according to Afghan officials. Interior Ministry spokesman Seddiq Seddiqi said a suicide car bomber first blew through the gates of the district police headquarters in Surobi early Monday morning. Two other male attackers clad in the all-enveloping burqa traditionally worn by Afghan women then opened fire and a gunbattle ensued, he said. Kabul Police said in a statement that the three attackers were killed, along with one police officer. Four officers were wounded, the force said in a statement.

#2: The Pakistan Army infantry troops, including SSG commandos, have entered the most difficult mountainous region in the tribal areas in search of terrorist hideouts, military sources said. According to sources, after the destruction of arms depots, militants will not be in a position to launch attacks on security forces for a long period. These sources said the bombardment of the fighter aircraft was continuing in North Waziristan tribal region and more militants were likely to be eliminated.

#3: Protesters burned down four trucks in Township area of Lahore when Lahore Development Authority (LDA) personnel started a crackdown against encroachments on Friday.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

War News for Thursday, February 20, 2014

Police identify 2 Americans found dead on Maersk Alabama -- 'Captain Phillips' ship -- The two men worked for Trident Group, a Virginia-based maritime security services firm. The company's president, Tom Rothrauff, said the men were former Navy SEALs.

Reported security incidents
#1: Pakistani air force jets bombed militant hideouts in the country's volatile northwest Thursday, officials said, after government efforts to negotiate a peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban broke down earlier this week. A Pakistani military official and two intelligence officers said Thursday that 15 suspected militants were believed to have been killed in the air strikes. The air strikes hit villages in the North Waziristan tribal region late Wednesday, a hotbed of militant activity that borders Afghanistan to the west, as well as the Khyber tribal region on Thursday morning.

#2: A suicide bomber was killed and one person injured when a blast rocked Kabul Thursday, the country's interior ministry said in a statement released here. A man who strapped an explosive device to his body blew himself up in Charahi Sarsabzi area at 9.15 a.m. today. Meanwhile, an eye witness speaking on condition of anonymity disputed the claim of the interior ministry, insisting two persons were killed and four others were injured in the suicide attack that caused panic among the war weary Afghans.

#3: The ministry of interior on Thursday in a statement quoted a Dr. Abdullah’s campaigner, Fazel Sancharaki as rejecting any insurgents’ armed attack on his convoy in eastern Nangarhar province. The ministry said the incident took place at about 4:40pm in Kulkin Tonal area on the Sarubi-Kabul highway, where the assailants were forced to leave the area after failing to impose life loss on a district police convoy patrolling the site.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

War News for Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Video footage shows the moment a US air strike accidentally targeted American soldiers

US to offer Taliban prisoners exchange to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Reported security incidents
#1: Nine militants were killed while 10 others wounded during a series of military raids in Afghanistan within the past day, said the country's Ministry of Interior Affairs on Wednesday. "The Afghan National Police, army and the National Directorate for Security (NDS) carried out several anti-terrorism operations in Balkh, Kandahar, Zabul, Logar, Ghazni and Helmand provinces. As a result nine armed Taliban members were killed and 10 wounded over the past 24 hours," the ministry said in a statement providing operational updates.

#2: A major of the Pakistan Army was killed during an exchange of fire with armed men in the Bazargai area of the Frontier Region (FR), Peshawar, on Tuesday. Media reports said that three attackers were also killed during the exchange of fire.Reports said that the Quick Response Force was moved on a tip-off that armed men were collecting extortion money from the shopkeepers and locals in the Bazargai town, located in the Frontier Region, Peshawar, near Matani and Darra Adamkhel.

#3: According to military sources, unidentified militants opened fire on a security forces checkpost killing one soldier, Mehrab, belonging to Sanghar. The incident of firing on the checkpost occurred at 11:00pm Monday night in Ladha.“A soldier embraced Shahadat (martyrdom) due to terrorist fire last night on a security forces checkpost in Ladha,” a senior security official said.Ladha is a key subdivision of the South Waziristan tribal region.

#4: Kabul Police in a ministry of interior said it had arrested three individuals armed with weapons and ammunition in Paghman district of the Kabul province on Tuesday.

#5: At least six Afghan national army soldiers were killed following an explosion in northeastern Kapisa province of Afghanistan. Officials in the ministry of defense of Afghanistan said Tuesday that the incident took place late Monday in Alasay district.

MoD: Master Sgt. Aaron C. Torian

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

War News for Tuesday, February 18, 2014

'US drones violate Pakistan sovereignty' - expert

Reported security incidents
#1: Officials say six Afghan soldiers and three civilians have been killed in two roadside bomb explosions in the eastern part of the country. Afghan army spokesman Noman Atefi said on February 18 that one of the blasts occurred on February 17 in Alasay district of Kapisa Province as an Afghan army unit was returning from an operation. Separately, a local official, Azad Khan, said a bomb attack in the eastern province of Paktia killed three civilians and wounded seven others on February 18.

#2: Militants in a restive tribal area of northwest Pakistan attacked an army checkpost and killed a soldier just hours after the government cancelled a round of talks with the Taliban, a security official said Tuesday. The checkpost attack came overnight Monday in the Ladha area of South Waziristan.

#3: Masked gunmen kidnapped a six-member polio vaccination team -- a doctor, two local employees of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and three guards -- in northwest Pakistan, an official said. Local administration official Niamat Ullah Khan said the team was seized some 300 kilometres (190 miles) southwest of Peshawar, in Ping village at the border of South Waziristan.

#4: Pakistani Taliban fighters opened fire at an army car and killed a senior officer on Tuesday, the military said, in an attack likely to destroy any prospects of meaningful peace negotiations between the government and the insurgents. "(The) exchange of fire continues," the army's press wing said in a statement, adding the attack took place near the volatile city of Peshawar on the Afghan border. The statement identified the senior officer as Major Jehanzeb and said three militants were also killed.

#5: An Afghan soldier was killed and two others sustained injuries as a roadside bomb struck a military van in Taliban former stronghold Kandahar province on Tuesday, a local official said. "A mine planted by militants struck a military vehicle in Panjwai district today afternoon killing one soldier and wounding two others," deputy to district governor, Juma Gul told Xinhua.

#6: One Taliban militant was killed as clash erupted in Sawki district of the eastern Kunar province on Tuesday, police said. "A group of Taliban rebels attacked a police checkpoint in Sawki district at 02:00 a.m. local time today but police returned fire killing an insurgent on the spot and forcing others to flee," provincial police chief Habibullah Sayedkhili told Xinhua.

#7: A number of people were killed or injured following clashes between two irresponsible armed groups in capital Kabul late Monday. The incident reportedly took place near Khair Khana area and the clashes between the two sides continued for few minutes before Afghan police forces arrived to the area.

Monday, February 17, 2014

War News for Monday, February 17, 2014

The military is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from an roadside bombing attack in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, February 15th.

Sheriff's Office: Paducah Marine killed in Afghanistan

Plot to kill Afghan parliament member in Ghor province foiled

Reported security incidents
#1: Two policemen were killed while two others were wounded in a bomb attack in western Afghanistan's Farah province, authorities said Monday. "On Sunday evening, a vehicle of the Afghan Public Protection Police Force set off an improvised explosive device, killing two policemen and wounding two others," a provincial police source told Xinhua.

#2: Gun battle between two armed groups in the eastern Wardak province on Sunday night left four militants dead and injured three others, a statement of provincial administration sent to media outlets on Monday said.

#3: At least 36 Taliban militants were killed and injured in various provinces of Afghanistan following military operations conducted by Afghan National Army.

About 17 Taliban militants were killed while 16 others detained in operations carried out by Afghan security forces within the last 24 hours, the country's Interior Ministry said Monday morning.

#4: A member of the Pakistani government committee tasked with negotiating with the Taliban says they have cancelled a scheduled round of talks after claims by militants that they killed 23 soldiers in their captivity.

#5: A bomb targeting a passenger train in southern Pakistan killed at least seven people and wounded more than 30 yesterday, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks this year. The bomb went off near Unar station, 450 kilometres northwest of Karachi, and badly damaged several carriages.
Officials said the Khushhal Khan Khattak express was travelling to Peshawar from Karachi when it was hit by the blast, which injured more than 30 people and damaged hundreds of metres of track.

#6: Afghan Taliban leader Maulvi Abdul Raqib was shot dead in Peshawar on Monday, Express News reported. He belonged to the Takhar province of Afghanistan. It was reported that Raqib was killed when he was leaving his house.

#7: Four Taliban militants lost their lives in a clash with police in Badakhshan Province with Faizabad as its capital, 315 km northeast of Kabul, on Monday, provincial police chief Jahangir Karamat said. "A group of Taliban rebels raided a police checkpoint in Yamgan District in the wee hours of Monday and police returned fire, killing four militants on the spot," Karamat told Xinhua.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, February 16, 2014

IED explosion kills a municipal worker in Kandahar city.

Afghan National Directorate of Intelligence says it seized a large weapons cache in Kapisa province, including rockets, RPGs, and an anti-aircraft weapon, among others.

The Interior Ministry goes back to the copying machine and says the usual 28 militants were killed in the past 24 hours. Also as usual, no mention of government or civilian casualties. Believe what you will.

India says it will supply Afghanistan with helicopters, although the announcement does not specify the number or type. (Out of curiosity,  I determined that India manufactures some transport helicopters, mostly in collaboration with France. Its armed military helicopters are Russian, actually Soviet era. The announcement implies these will be non-lethal equipment.)

Al Jazeera reports on a recent spate of attacks on candidates and campaign workers. These incidents, mostly in Herat, are unsolved.

NYT'S Azam Ahmed reports on the battle for control of Highway 1, which links Kabul with other major cities. This is seen as a key test for the Afghan army.

UpdateAP reports a NATO service member killed by an IED on Saturday. This has not been widely reported and is not on the ISAF web site as of now. No further information as of noon ET.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

War News for Saturday, February 15, 2014

U.S. Will Target Freed Afghan Militants Who Return To Fight

Pakistani anti-drone activist says he was tortured

Lessons learned? 25 years since Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan

Reported security incidents
#1: The Pentagon says that shortly after two U.S. soldiers were gunned down by two men wearing Afghan army uniforms in eastern Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents attacked the district center where the Americans had been operating. The scenario as described Friday by a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, appeared to leave open the possibility that the machine-gun attack that killed the two Army Special Forces soldiers Wednesday was coordinated with the Taliban.

#2: One civilian was killed and eight injured Saturday by a suicide bomber in northern Afghanistan, police said. “The bomber targeted a police vehicle passing in Khan Abad district at 9:30 am (0500 GMT),” said Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, police spokesman for Kunduz province. Mr. Hussaini said the police officers were unhurt, but one civilian passerby died and eight others were injured.

#3: Unknown men blew up two power pylons of 220 KV transmission lines in suburbs area of Kohlu district on Saturday. According to police unidentified men had attached with explosive devices with two 220 KV electricity pylons which were exploded. The two pylons were badly damaged in explosions.

#4: At least 18 Taliban militants were killed or injured following coordinated military operations by Afghan national security forces.

#5: A helicopter belonging to the NATO-led coalition security forces conducted a precautionary landing in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan on Friday afternoon. The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan claimed that the helicopter belonged to the US forces in Afghanistan and was shot down by Taliban fighters in Shahwali Kot district of Kandahar province.

DoD: Spc. John A. Pelham

DoD: Sgt. First Class Roberto C. Skelt

Friday, February 14, 2014

War News for Friday, February 14, 2014

Sunset grad killed in Afghanistan -- John Pelham

In Prison Release, Signs of Karzai’s Rift With U.S.

Karzai: Release of Bagram prisoners is ‘no concern’ to US

Reported security incidents
#1: Two senior government officials were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Balochistan on Thursday, officials said on Friday. The event took place in Tump town of Kechh district, some 1,000 kilometres southwest of Quetta. According to Provincial Home Secretary Adil Gilani, “The deputy commissioner and the assistant commissioner of Kechh district were returning after a meeting with Iranian border officials when they were intercepted by dozens of armed men.” The gunmen overpowered at least 18 staff and security personnel accompanying the two officials and ordered the convoy to follow them. The staff and security personnel were later allowed to leave.

#2: Two Rangers personnel were injured on Friday in an explosion near their vehicle in Qayyumabad area of Karachi, a private news channel reported. According to a Rangers’ spokesman, the explosion had targeted a wing commander of the force who was travelling in the vehicle

DoD: Spc. Christopher A. Landis

Thursday, February 13, 2014

War News for Thursday, February 13, 2014

NATO is reporting the deaths of two ISAF soldiers from an apparent insider attack from two ANA soldiers in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, February 12th. News reports the incident was at a base in eastern Afghanistan after a dispute leaving both ANA soldiers dead and four additional ISAF soldiers wounded.

'Foreign intelligence services' disrupt Taliban talks: Afghan FM

Afghanistan releases 65 prisoners despite strong U.S. objections

Escaped Inmates From Iraq Fuel Syrian Insurgency

Reported security incidents
A powerful car bomb exploded near a police bus in Pakistan's commercial city of Karachi, killing at least 11 policemen and injuring many more, Al Jazeera reports, citing agencies. The explosion occurred early on Thursday morning as more than 50 officers were getting on the bus near the national highway in Karachi. An explosive-laden car hit the police bus transporting officials for security duty, reported AFP, quoting Muhammad Iqbal, a senior police official. He added that around 40 other policemen were in hospital after an attack outside a police training center. 10 are in critical condition.
#2: At least 52 Taliban militants were killed in following military operations by Afghan national security forces.

#3: A teenager suicide bomber was shot dead by Afghan police forces in eastern Khost province of Afghanistan, local officials said. The officials further added that the incident took place in Mosa Khel district of Khost province on Wednesday evening.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

War News for Wednesday, February 12, 2014

US mulls another army action in Pakistan

Reported security incidents
#1: Militants killed nine members of an anti-Taliban militia on Wednesday in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar, police said. In Wednesday's attack, a group of about 25 militants attacked the house of militia chief Israrullah Khan on Peshawar outskirts, killing him and eight of his relatives, said police official Jamal Khan.

#2: Officials say attacks in southern Afghanistan have killed the brother of a man running for office in provincial elections and a policeman, the latest in continued violence ahead of the April 5 vote. Omar Zwark, spokesman for the governor of Helmand province, said Wednesday that the body of candidate Sabor Sabari's brother was found the previous night in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. He also says a local policeman was killed by Taliban insurgents on Tuesday night in the city.

#3: At least 6 Taliban militants were killed and 14 others were injured following military operation by Afghan national security forces. The interior ministry of Afghanistan following a statement said Wednesday that the operations were conducted in Zabul, Kandahar, Kunduz, Baghlan, Kapisa, Uruzgan, Maidan wardak, Logar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktia, Herat and Farah provinces of Afghanistan.

#4: At least four Afghan national army soldiers were killed following in separate improvised explosive device (IED) attacks across the country, the defense ministry announced Tuesday.

DoD: Pfc. Joshua A. Gray

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

War News for Tuesday, February 11, 2014

NATO is reporting the deaths of two ISAF contracted-civilians from a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, February 10th.
NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from direct fire attack in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, February 10th.

Civilian contractor from Winlock killed in explosion in Afghanistan -- Mike Hughes

Afghanistan orders mass vaccinations after polio case

Anti-drone activist kidnapped in Pakistan -- According to CNN, Akbar said that 20 men, some of them dressed in police uniforms, kidnapped Khan.

U.S. Debates Drone Strike on American Terrorism Suspect in Pakistan

Reported security incidents
#1: A policeman was killed and another was injured when a polio immunisation team was attacked in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Dera Ismail Khan district on Tuesday. The two policemen were assigned to provide security to the vaccination team working in D I Khan's Purwa tehsil.

#2: The security forces in North Waziristan conducted an operation in retaliation to the Monday killings of six personnel and killed one terrorist and arrested four on Tuesday.

#3: A Pakistani employee of the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar was shot and killed Monday while traveling home from work, the latest in a string of targeted assassinations in that area, local officials said. Najeeb Khan, a local police official, said the consulate employee was walking home in the capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when gunmen opened fire on him as he approached his house. The man, identified as Faisal Saeed, was killed and the gunmen fled, Khan said.

#4: At least nine people were killed and over 20 others were injured on Tuesday when multiple blasts ripped through a cinema in Peshawar, SAMAA reported. Eyewitnesses said the blast were of low intensity and occurred inside Shama cinema located close to ANP’s Bacha Khan center and Radio Pakistan’s local office.

#5: At least 5 Taliban militants were killed and 18 others were detained during military operations by Afghan national security forces.

Monday, February 10, 2014

War News for Monday, February 10, 2014

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from a non-combat related injury in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, February 10th.

Reported security incidents
#1: An explosion has hit the eastern part of the Afghan capital and damaged at least two vehicles. There was no immediate word on casualties. A witness says Monday's blast was a suicide attack on a convoy of foreign military vehicles. Police and ambulances rushed to the scene near the Pul-i-Charkhi prison. Two civilian vehicles lay overturned and nearby shop windows were shattered from the force of the explosion. A local shopkeeper named Jameel, who uses only one name, says he saw two NATO vehicles leaving the prison and a car slamming into the second one.

#2: Pakistani officials said separatist rebels have blown up three gas pipelines, leaving millions of households not able to heat their homes. Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited officials said the militants attacked the Punjab province pipelines late Sunday. Punjab is Pakistan's wealthiest province and the power base of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

One woman died in explosions when separatists from south-western Pakistan blew up three major gas pipelines, cutting supplies to millions of domestic and industrial consumers.

#3: At least four women were killed in Peshawar city in the north west when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside their house, police official Ihsan Shah said. The attacker was reportedly aiming to detonate the explosives at a funeral service but entered the house after he was spotted and challenged by the police.

#4: At least 17 soldiers were injured when a bomb blast targeted a security forces convoy in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan on Monday, local media reported. The incident took place when a roadside bomb struck a convoy of paramilitaryFrontiers Constabulary (FC) in Tali area of Sibi district.

#5: Up to six militants were killed and five others wounded in southern Afghanistan's province of Helmand, an army source said on Monday. "Three Taliban militants were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) they were planting to target security forces went off prematurely along a main road in Nad Ali district overnight," General Mohammad Nasim Sangin, commander of 3rd Brigade of the 215 Army Corps in Helmand told Xinhua. He said three militants were killed and five others wounded after the Taliban launched an armed attack on an army patrol in the neighboring Nahr-i-Saraj district late Sunday. No army personnel was hurt in the attack, he noted.

#6: Afghan police backed by the army have killed 17 Taliban militants during a series of operations across the conflict-hit country over the past 24 hours, Interior Ministry said in a statement on Monday. "The national police backed by the national army have carried out a series of operations in Nangarhar, Laghman, Zabul, Maidan Wardak, Khost, Paktika and Helmand provinces leaving 17 armed Taliban insurgents dead," the statement said.

#7: Local authorities in central Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan announced Monday that an aircraft has crashed in Dai Merdad district. Provincial governor spokesman, Ataullah Khogyani, confirming the report, said that the incident took place late Sunday evening in a mountanous region.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, February 10, 2014

Seven Afghan soldiers are killed by a roadside bomb in Farah province.

Kabul police claim to have arrested 22 criminals, an unspecified number of whom are "terrorists."

U.S. to announce a $300 million aid package to Afghanistan on Monday. The aid is intended to boost the Afghan economy as spending by foreign military forces and other international aid declines.

U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reports civilian casualties up 14% in 2013 from 2012. Although insurgents are said responsible for the majority of deaths, mostly from IEDs, civilian casualties resulting from military action increased 43% since Afghan forces took over most security responsibility. (Note that the reports from the Interior Ministry that we often link to here generally omit any mention of civilian casualties. However, the UN is apparently collecting information.) From Wakht:

"Civilian harm caused by Afghan forces needs to be addressed. They are supposed to be the protectors of the Afghan people,” said Sahr Muhammedally, Senior Legal Advisor for the Center for Civilians in Conflict. “Over the past decade, international forces have found ways to reduce civilian harm and respond to casualties when they do occur. Afghan forces need to work with them to learn ways to better save lives and dignify losses.”

In a 2013 report, the Center identified problems with the government’s response to civilian harm, including how it conducts investigations and assists civilians caught in the conflict. Subsequent interviews show that political interference and corruption both at the local and national level influence investigations.
 Wakht's report on the UNAMA report is here. Since ISAF became much less active in 2013, civilian casualties caused by coalition forces are of course way down. But that just reminds us that they were substantial when ISAF was aggressively fighting. Note that ISAF claims 90% of civilian casualties are caused by insurgents. Actually, the UNAMA report says it's 74%. Wakht does not make note of the discrepancy.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

War News for Saturday, February 08, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: An election campaign worker was kidnapped and killed by unidentified armed men in Afghanistan's Saripul province Friday, police said Saturday, blaming the Taliban for the murder. "The body of Hajji Yasin, who had campaigned for presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, was found from a road Friday night," Xinhua quoted police chief Noor Habib Gulbahari as saying. 

#2: At least two people including a child were killed and nine others including a woman injured when a blast took place in eastern province of Nangarhar, an official said Saturday. The incident took place at about 1pm in 2nd district of the province near the Bibi Hawa Girls School, where chief of the provincial public health dept., Najibullah Kamawal told Wakht News Agency that two people including a child and nine others including a woman were wounded in the blast rocked the nearby buildings.

#3: On Friday night, two policemen were killed while three others injured when a suicide bomber blew up his explosive-laden vehicle during a security check in Khanewal area, a district in the country's eastern Punjab province. Local officials said that policemen stopped a suspected vehicle at a security check post when the bomber blew up himself, killing two policemen right at the spot and injuring three others.

#4: In a separate incident on Friday morning, four policemen including an officer were killed and several others injured during a shootout with robbers in Dera Ghazi Khan, another district in the Punjab province. Officials said that the policemen stopped a suspicious car at a picket when the people sitting inside speeded up the vehicle and fled away. Following the incident, police carried out a search operation in the neighboring area during which an exchange of firing took place and four policemen were killed and several others including cops and passersby got injured.

Friday, February 7, 2014

War News for Friday, February 07, 2014

British military canine 'in Afghan Taliban custody'

Reported security incidents

Thursday, February 6, 2014

War News for Thursday, February 06, 2014

At least 19 people killed as bad weather strikes Afghanistan, Central Asia

Pakistan, Taliban start peace talks in Islamabad -source

Reported security incidents
#1: Afghan police during series of operations in parts of the country have killed one Taliban militant and captured two others over the past 24 hours, Interior Ministry said in a statement released here on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

War News for Wednesday, February 05, 2014

German deployments extended to Afghanistan, Mali

US cuts back on drone strikes in Pakistan, report

Reported security incidents
#1: Eight people were killed and 42 injured on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a charity hotel in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said, in an apparent sectarian attack. “Eight people were killed and twenty six have been injured in a suicide blast outside a local hotel yards away from an imambargah,” senior police official Faisal Mukhtar said.

#2: The blast came as a prominent scholar was gunned down in the same part of the city on Tuesday morning, in what also appeared to be a targeted sectarian killing.

#3: Three militants were killed and five others detained in military operations carried out by Afghan security forces since early Tuesday, said the country's Interior Ministry on Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

War News for Saturday, Tuesday 04, 2014

Marine from Hermiston loses part of leg in Afghanistan explosion

6 Unanswered Questions About Obama's Drone War

Karzai Arranged Secret Contacts With the Taliban

Reported security incidents
#1: Units of police in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province captured two would-be suicide bombers on Monday, a statement of Interior Ministry released here on Tuesday said.

#2: Units of police backed by the army have killed three Taliban militants and captured 17 others during series of operations across the country over the past 24 hours, Interior Ministry said in a press release issued here on Monday.

Monday, February 3, 2014

War News for Monday, February 03, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Pakistani police say a bomb attack in a cinema in the northwestern city of Peshawar has killed five people. Police official Zahid Khan says the explosion on Sunday night also wounded 30 people.

#2: A roadside mine went off injuring a 12-year-old child in southern province of Kandahar’s Mianshin district, an official said Monday. The child was busy to collect dried bushes for fire in a village of the district, said the governor spokesman, Jawid Faisal in a statement.

#3: At least two people were killed when an explosive went off in the capital (Kabul), the security forces aid Monday.

#4: Two men more allegedly insurgents were killed on Sunday when their Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)s went off prior to be succeeded of their aims to plant them in their scheduled site where a security forces convoy was expected to patrol. The incident took place in Arghastan district of the province, with two rebels planning to plant mines to target the Afghan security forces, but they were killed as a result and no troops were harmed, the ministry of interior said.

#5: Units of police backed by the army have killed three Taliban militants and captured 17 others during series of operations across the country over the past 24 hours, Interior Ministry said in a press release issued here on Monday.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, February 2, 2014

As the Afghan presidential campaign officially begins, two aides to presidential candidate Abdullah Abudullah are murdered in Herat. "Shujahudeen and Dr Faiz Ahmad Hamdard were shot dead on Saturday around 06:30 pm by unknown gun men driving a car, officials said, while they were finishing campaigning for Abdullah."

The Independent Electoral Commission announced the formal start of the campaign  for the presidency and provincial councils, with the vote scheduled for April 5. Presidential candidates include Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Zalmai Rassoul, Qayoum Karzai, Mohammad Daoud Sultanzoy, Sardar Mohammad Nadir Naeem, Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, Qutbuddin Helal, Abdullah Abdullah, Abdul Rahim Wardak, Hedayat Amin Arsalan and Gul Agha Sherzai.

Hamid Karzai is not liking the United States. He tells an interviewer he has not spoken with Barack Obama in seven months. Also says:

Hamid Karzai, 56, has grown increasingly hostile towards Barack Obama as Afghanistan prepares to elect a new president in April. Mr Karzai will not stand again, but he is determined to emphasise his disagreements with the United States before he steps down. "This whole 12 years was one of constant pleading with America to treat the lives of our civilians as lives of people."

"They did not work for me, they worked against me," he said, and referred to the Taliban in his interview with The Sunday Times as "brothers" and the Americans as "rivals". "The money they should have paid to the police they paid to private security firms and creating militias who caused lawlessness, corruption and highway robbery," he said. "They then began systematically waging psychological warfare on our people, encouraging our money to go out of our country. "What they did was create pockets of wealth and a vast countryside of deprivation and anger."

No surprise,  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen does not think Karzai will sign the security agreement with the U.S. (I'm not a major diplomat, but you could have asked me the same question and I bet I'd be just as right.)

Directorate of Intelligence accuses Taliban in Maidan Wardak of hiring teenage boys and sexually abusing them. (I should point out that the sexual exploitation of boys by men is accepted among some Afghans, and that government forces have also been accused of the practice.)

Four Afghan soldiers are killed and 4 injured in an ambush in Farah province.

After billions of dollars in U.S. investment, Afghanistan's roads are disintegrating, says WaPo's Kevin Sieff:

They look like victims of an insurgent attack — their limbs in need of amputation, their skulls cracked — but the patients who pour daily into the Ghazni Provincial Hospital are casualties of another Afghan crisis. They are motorists who drove on the road network built by the U.S. government and other Western donors — a $4 billion project that was once a symbol of promise in post-Taliban Afghanistan but is now falling apart.

Western officials say the Afghan government is unable to maintain even a fraction of the roads and highways constructed since 2001, when the country had less than 50 miles of paved roads. The deterioration has hurt commerce and slowed military operations. In many places, the roads once deemed the hallmark of America’s development effort have turned into death traps, full of cars careening into massive bomb-blast craters or sliding off crumbling pavement.
An explosion is reported near a checkpoint in Jalalabad. As of now there are no details and it is not known if there were casualties.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

War News for Saturday, February 01, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Afghan officials say a roadside bomb hit a police vehicle in southern Afghanistan, killing four policemen. Zia Durrani, police spokesman for Kandahar Province, said Saturday that one policeman was also was wounded in the attack. The attack — which took place on Friday night — occurred in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar Province, near the border with Pakistan.

#2: At least four suspected militants were killed and 50 others rounded up in a targeted raid in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The operation carried out by police and security personnel is still in progress, Dawn online reported Saturday. Police officer Haji Khan said the raid was launched after security personnel received a tip off that militants had occupied a primary school in Swabi district.

#3: At least one child was killed when an Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) targeted a house in Chuhl Mitra area of the provincial capital, Jalalabad city, an official said Saturday.

#4: At least two militants were blown up by own explosives in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan.