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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

War News for Wednesday, April 30, 2014

US came to Afghanistan with TV & cash - they won’t let us go’

Karzai: US and British forces run illegal prisons in Afghanistan

Reported security incidents
Afghan troops backed by Western air power killed at least 60 militants near the Pakistan border, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said on Wednesday, in one of the biggest single assaults against the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. About 300 Haqqani insurgents and foreign fighters came under intensive fire on Monday when they tried to storm Afghan bases in Ziruk district of Paktika province, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement. Monday’s battle occurred in the southeast province of Paktika.

#2: At least five militants were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb apparently planted by a rival group in Pakistan's troubled northwest, the Taliban and officials said Wednesday.

#3: Four troops including two local policemen were injured when a group of armed rebels attacked an outpost in eastern province of Nangarhar late on yesterday, an official said Wednesday. The incident happened in Farmasi area of Batti Kot district, where Chief Haji Ghaleb in a briefing with Wakht News Agency confirmed that two national and two local policemen were wounded.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

War News for Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NATO is reporting the deaths of two ISAF soldiers from insurgent attacks in  undisclosed locations in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, April 28th.

Reported security incidents
#1: At least 49 Taliban insurgents and five soldiers were killed following a massive attack by the militants in eastern Afghan province of Paktiya, a defence ministry official of the country said on Tuesday. "More than 500 insurgents attacked army after an operation was launched in Paktiya province. 49 militants and five soldiers have been killed," Xinhua quoted Mohammad Zahir Azimi, a defense ministry spokesman, as saying in his twitter account. Six army soldiers were also wounded during the exchange of fire between the insurgents and army in the province, 100 km south of the country's capital Kabul, Azimi said.

#2: At least three police personnel were killed and one policeman injured Tuesday when Taliban militants attacked a security checkpoint in Afghanistan. "The militants raided an Afghan Local Police(ALP)checkpoint in Alingar district in eastern Afghan province of Laghman early Tuesday, leaving three ALP personnel dead and injuring one policeman," Xinhua quoted the provincial government as saying in a statement.

#3: Three militants were killed on Monday during a gun battle between the security forces and militants in the Landi Kotal tehsil of the Khyber tribal region. According to military officials, these militants also included a commander who was allegedly involved in the attack on Landi kotal Fort which had destroyed a large ammunition depot a few days back. Two Frontier Corps (FC) personnel have also been injured in the gun battle with the militants.

#4: In an unrelated incident on Monday, two employees of a local aid agency were shot dead in Kohistan district of northern Faryab province, 425 km north of Kabul, district governor Imam Yar Taqwa told Xinhua earlier on Tuesday.

Monday, April 28, 2014

War News for Monday, April 28, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: At least six people were injured on Monday when unidentified gunmen opened fire at a NATO container on the Pakistan-Afghanistan highway in the Khyber tribal region. The militants opened fire at a NATO container, injuring the driver of the vehicle and five other people following which the Khasadar forces personnel retaliated, Dawn online reported, citing official sources.

#2: An improvised-explosive device detonated along the border between North and South Waziristan on Sunday, killing at least three security personnel, security officials said. Military officials confirmed the incident, adding that the IED had targeted a military vehicle on patrol. “The IED was planted by terrorists on the roadside,” said a military official on condition of anonymity. “At least three security forces personnel, including an officer, were killed in the incident,” he said, adding, “Another three were injured and are currently in critical condition.”

#3: At least two Pakistani security personnel were killed and one injured Monday during an exchange of fire along the Pakistan-Iran border, a media report said. "Exchange of fire took place when security forces tried to stop a convoy of drug smugglers in Balochistan's Mashkel area, which is close to the Iranian border as they were trying to sneak into Iran," Dawn online reported a security official as saying.

#4: Security officials in Pakistan said that two rockets landed near an airport in northwestern city of Peshawar late Sunday.

MoD: Captain Thomas Clarke

MoD: Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan

MoD: Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner

MoD: Corporal James Walters

MoD: Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas

Sunday, April 27, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, April 27, 2014

British MoD denies Taliban claims that they shot down the Lynx helicopter that crashed yesterday near Kandahar, killing five. Three of the dead were from the air corps, based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire; the other dead were in the RAF, and army reserve. None has yet been named.

Afghan police say they kiled 5 insurgents in Paktika, including 2 foreign nationals. One police officer is said to have been lightly injured in the operation.

At least 15 mortar shells are fired from Paktika into North Waziristan. The story does not explain who may have done this, or why, but notes that the Pakistani military has been firing rockets into Afghanistan.

Abdullah Abdullah claims victory in the presidential election, claims there will beno need for a runoff once fraudulent votes are removed from the tally. He has criticism for the Independent Electoral Commission. However, according to the tally released so far, he will face a runoff with Ashraf Ghani.

Ghani says his campaign will continue and he predicts victory in the second round. 

Two civilians and a police officer are killed, 7 civilians injured, in an explosion at a marketplace in Ghazni. There is no claim of responsibility as of now.

Government begins a campaign to round up addicts in Kabul and put them into recovery centers. It is not clear whether commitment will be involuntary. The linked article discusses the epidemic of opiate addiction and the adequacy of resources in the country.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

War News for Saturday, April 26, 2014

NATO is reporting the deaths of five ISAF soldiers from a helicopter crash in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, April 26th. News reports the crash was in the Takhtapul district of Kandahar province.

The MOD can confirm that a UK helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan today, 26 April 2014. The incident is under investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further until families have been notified.

Afghan floods: Hundreds dead, thousands homeless

Reported security incidents
#1: At least 18 people have been killed and 15 injured in fierce clashes between two rival tribes in Pakistan's lawless North Waziristan in the last three days, security officials and locals said on Saturday. Clashes erupted on Thursday on a lingering land dispute between rival tribes in the Lawara Mandi area of the troubled region. Both sides have been using rockets, mortars and heavy weapons against each other, a senior security official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

#2: Units of Afghan national army have killed Taliban commander along with 10 comrades in the southern Ghazni province on Saturday, an army spokesman Nazifullah Sultani said.

#3: According to local authorities in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, at least 18 missiles have been fired by Pakistani forces in this province late Thursday. Provincial security chief, Gen. Abdul Habib Syed Khel confirmed that 18 missiles long-range missiles fired from the other side of Durand Line, landed in Dangam district. Gen. Syed Khel further added that no casualties were incurred to the local residents but some financial losses were reported.

News: Jon Gabel

News: Gary Gabel

Friday, April 25, 2014

War News for Friday, April 25, 2014

Officials: Dozens killed in Afghan flooding

Afghanistan floods claim at least 102 lives, dozens more missing

Reported security incidents
#1: Gunmen shot dead four policemen Thursday in Balochistan province, which has been hit by an insurgency for almost a decade, officials said. The shooting took place when police on routine patrol were passing from the town of Chattar in Naseerabad district.

#2: Pakistani warplanes attacked insurgent hideouts in the tribal region near the Afghan border, killing 37 suspected militants and wounding 18, army officials said yesterday, as authorities hold peace negotiations with the Taliban. The airstrikes pounded two suspected hideouts in a remote area of the Tirah Valley in the Khyber tribal region, three military officials said.

#3: The Department of Defence says the C-130 transport plane left the runway while landing at the Kabul International Airport late yesterday. The plane, which has since been towed away for examination, overshot the runway by about 70 metres. It is not known how many people were on board but the department says no-one was injured.

#4: A powerful blast rocked Zabul's provincial capital Qalat in south Afghanistan on Thursday afternoon, killing a child and wounding eight others including a soldier and seven non-combatants, provincial police chief Ghulam Sakhi Rogh Liwanai said. "The explosive device was planted on a motorbike and went off next to a military vehicle, killed a child, wounding an Afghan soldier and seven passersby,"Liwanai told Xinhua.

News: Dr. Jerry Umanos

Thursday, April 24, 2014

War News for Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital on Thursday morning, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said. The shooting at Cure International Hospital in western Kabul was the latest in a string of deadly attacks on foreign civilians in the Afghan capital this year.

#2: Authorities say four police officers have been killed in an attack in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar. A statement from the Kandahar governor’s office accused Taliban insurgents of being responsible for the attack on a checkpoint late April 22 in the Ghorak district. The statement said one officer had been injured and three others were missing after the attack, likely taken hostage.

#3: A bombing in southern Pakistan killed a police officer known for his anti-militant campaigns and three other people on Thursday.

#4: army officials said the Pakistani air force carried out airstrikes against insurgents in a northwestern tribal region, killing 16 militants. The airstrikes pounded two militant hideouts in a remote area of Tirah Valley in the Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border, three military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.

#5: Units of Afghan national army raided Taliban hideouts and killed eight insurgents, including two commanders in the southern Ghazni province on Thursday, an army spokesman Nazif Sultani said. "Units of the national army launched cleanup operations in Andar district of Ghazni province early today morning and so far eight rebels, including two Taliban commanders.

#6: Two militants including a commander were killed as aircrafts stormed their hideout in Nari district of the eastern Kunar province, 185 km east of Kabul late Wednesday night, provincial police chief Abdul Habib Sayedkhili said Thursday. "Acting upon intelligence report the aircrafts targeted a Taliban hideout in Zalai village of Narai district at 11:00 p.m. local time Wednesday, killing Taliban commander Mullah Ayub along with his bodyguard," Sayedkhili told Xinhua.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

War News for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Afghan election commission delays release of full results to allow recounts, audits

Fraud allegations delay Afghan election result

Reported security incidents
#1: Eight people, including four civilians, were killed as Taliban insurgents launched two attacks in southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Tuesday, sources said on Wednesday. In one attack, four police were killed and one was wounded when the militants attacked a security checkpoint in Ghorak district, the provincial government said in a statement. Three policemen were missing following the attack in the district, northwest of the provincial capital Kandahar city, 450 km south of Kabul.

#2: In addition, four civilians were killed when the Taliban carried out an attack on police forces during a poppy eradication campaign in Maiwand district Tuesday, according to the statement. The statement also said three militants were killed in a premature blast and an engagement with the security forces in Kandahar on Tuesday.

#3: Meanwhile, six people, including five policemen and an ambulance driver, were killed in a separate attack on a police patrol on the outskirts of the regional capital of Peshawar overnight. Three others were wounded when militants opened fire. Senior police officer Shafiullah Khan said unknown people had planted a bomb on a motorcycle and parked it near police headquarters in Peshawar. "The bomb went off when a police van carrying 13 policemen for duty was passing through the spot. Three persons were killed and 33 were wounded," he said. "It seems the police van was the target of the attack."

#4: In one attack, two male civilians were killed when a vehicle they were riding set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in Pusht Rod area of western Farah province early Tuesday morning, a provincial official told Xinhua.

#5: Elsewhere, a soldier was killed in similar attack on Tuesday, the Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement earlier in the day.

#6: Nineteen militants have been killed in army operations since early Tuesday, Afghan Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

#7: At least five people including a security man were injured in a blast near a vehicle of paramilitary troops in Pakistan's southwest Chaman district on Tuesday, local officials said. Muhammad Ashraf, a senior police officer, said that the paramilitary Frontier Corps' vehicle was targeted by the explosion in Kandahari Bazaar area of Chaman, Balochistan province.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

War News for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

US force in Afghanistan may be cut to less than 10,000 troops

SAPD: Navy senior chief shoots wife, kills self

Pakistan’s most prominent journalist shot by gunman in Karachi

Reported security incidents
#1-2: Two militant attacks in northwestern Pakistan killed eight people, including five policemen, on Tuesday, officials said. Both officers said nearly 20 policemen were wounded in the two attacks.

#1: In one of the attacks, gunmen ambushed a police patrol on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, killing five policemen and a civilian, said police officer Fazal Wahid. He said the police chased the attackers and killed some of the militants in a shootout.

#2: And in the neighboring Charsadda attack, a bomb rigged to a motorcycle exploded close to a police van, killing two bystanders, said police officer Sharifullah Khan. .

#3: A prominent campaign worker in Afghanistan’s presidential election was shot dead outside his home in the country’s east, officials said on Tuesday. The Taliban denied they were involved in the killing. Campaign worker Esmatullah, who like many Afghan men uses only one name, was returning home from visiting a friend on Monday afternoon when unknown gunmen opened fire outside his house in Logar province, provincial spokesman Din Mohammad Darwish said.

#4: In a roadside bomb attack, a senior administrative official was killed and six civilians were wounded in eastern Nangarhar province, the latest in a string of targeted killing. "The Administrative Rights director of Qarghahi district of eastern Laghman province Mohmood Quraishi was killed in a bomb attack while six civilians were wounded in the blast which took place in Sarrah Road district of neighboring Nangarhar province Tuesday morning," the Nangarhar provincial government spokesman told Xinhua.

#5: A local journalist was shot dead in Mianwali town of Punjab. Motives behind his murder are yet to be ascertained, SAMAA reported. Police said Shahzad Iqbal and his brother were on their way on a motorbike when unidentified gunmen intercepted the bike and opened fire on them in Mianwali town.

#6: At least three fighters were killed and three others wounded when the security forces lunched a counterstrike against the insurgents who attacked a police checkpoint in Momand Dara district of eastern Nangarhar province, an official said Tuesday. Two border officials were also injured in the battle, a border police commander, Brig General Wali Khan Shinwari told Wakht News Agency. He said militants attacked a police checkpoint of fifth battalion at about 2am [last night] but faced harsh counterstrike leaving three fighters dead and four others wounded.

#7: At least 12 Taliban militants were killed and 9 others were injured during counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.

Monday, April 21, 2014

War News for Monday, April 21, 2014

Pakistani Journalist Targeted, Shot by Militants

335 NATO bases transferred to Afghan security forces

Reported security incidents
#1: Up to 29 Taliban militants were killed while 11 others wounded in a series of military operations across Afghanistan since early Sunday, said the country's Interior Ministry on Monday.

#2: At least three people were killed and one injured on Monday when armed motorcyclists began firing indiscriminately in Quetta, capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province, police said. Armed motorcyclists began firing indiscriminately at a Land Cruiser, killing on the spot the two people who were inside the vehicle, Dawn online reported citing Superintendent of Police Imran Qureshi.

#3: According to local authorities in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan, unknown gunmen have shot dead a provincial council candidate in Quetta city of Pakistan. Provincial governor spokesman, Dawa Khan Meenapal said the provincial council candidate Shah Mahmood Jalali was assassinated on Saturday.

#4: One Afghan soldier was killed in a bomb attack, said the country's Defense Ministry on Monday.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

News of the day for Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sticky bomb injures 7 employees of Ministry of Agriculture in Kabul. Two are in critical condition. No claim of responsibility as of now.

Afghan army claims to have killed Taliban "governor" of Kandahar and 3 subordinates.

Fars reports U.S. airstrike kills 4 people in Parvan. (No corroboration of this as of now and Fars is not always reliable on these stories. We'll see.)

Karzai appoints a panel to review the ISAF prison at Bagram. Not entirely clear what the agenda is here.

Iran hangs 6 Afghan nationals on drug smuggling charges. [No indication of it here but in the past Afghans have claimed Iran trumps up these charges against economic migrants.]

Defense Ministry says 2 Afghan soldiers and 18 insurgents killed in various operations in past 24 hours. [As always, no corroboration for the body count or claim that the dead were all armed insurgents. There are never any reported casualties to civilian bystanders. At least the Defense Ministry, unlike the Interior Ministry, does occasionally report casualties of government personnel.]

Saturday, April 19, 2014

War News for Saturday, April 19, 2014

Army Pulling Helos from National Guard

Government to hold fresh talks with Taliban negotiators

Reported security incidents
#1: Six Taliban insurgents were killed Saturday in a blast in Afghanistan's eastern province of Ghazni, police said. "A local Taliban leader named Mullah Saddiq, along with five militants, was killed after improvised explosive devices (IEDs) they were building went off prematurely in Khoshak locality of the provincial capital Ghazni city in the morning," Xinhua Saturday quoted Asadullah Insafi, deputy provincial police chief, as saying.

#2: Meanwhile, two militants were killed and six wounded in the country's northern Sari Pul province during a military operation conducted by the army earlier Saturday.

Friday, April 18, 2014

War News for Friday, April 18, 2014

The DoD is reporting the death of Spc. Kerry M. G. Danyluk who died at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany on Tuesday, April 15th. He was wounded from a small arms weapons attack in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, Afghanistan on Saturday, April 12th.

Reported security incidents
#1: An official says three Taliban insurgents escaped from a prison in northern Afghanistan using weapons smuggled into the facility in a jailbreak that killed three police guards. A spokesman for the Faryab provincial government, Ahmad Jawad Dedar, said on Friday that the breakout took place the previous night. A fourth inmate who was also trying to escape was killed in a shootout with security forces.

Taliban militants attacked a prison with rockets in Afghanistan's northern Faryab province and set free four inmates, police said on Friday. "A group of Taliban rebels targeted the prison in the provincial capital Maimana with four rockets late Thursday, enabling four militants to escape," Xinhua quoted Mohammad Naeem Andarabi, deputy head of provincial police, as saying. He also confirmed that the rocket attack and clash with militants had left two police and a Taliban fighter dead.

#3: A security man was killed and two others were injured Friday as militants targeted a security forces’ vehicle in an explosion on Frontier road on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

War News for Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pakistani Taliban snub cease-fire extension

Army to assist civil govt in polio eradication campaign

Reported security incidents
#1: gunmen kidnapped Ahmad Shah Wahid, the deputy minister of public works, as he was travelling in his car to work, officials said. No group has taken responsibility for Wahid's kidnapping, but abduction is a lucrative business in impoverished Afghanistan and scores of Afghans and foreigners have been captured and money demanded in return for their release.

#2: A group of Afghan policemen were kidnapped Wednesday while traveling in civilian clothes, and the Taliban later claimed they had killed seven of them. In a statement emailed to journalists, the militants said they had killed the policemen in an ambush in the Said Abad district of Wardak province, and that they found documents on the policemen that showed they were members of the Afghan Civil Order Police, an elite police unit. Ataullah Lodin, a spokesman for the governor of Wardak province, said authorities there had reported that a dozen of the officers had been kidnapped by insurgents.

#3: Up to 18 Taliban insurgents were killed while seven others wounded in Afghan army operations within the last 24 hours, the country's Defense Ministry said Thursday morning.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

War News for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4159 detainees released from Bagram prison: Gen. Farooq

Reported security incidents
#1: An Afghan policeman has opened fire and wounded a female lawmaker in the country's capital, Kabul, during what authorities described as a "dispute" between the two.

#2: An Afghan provincial government spokesman has alleged that a NATO airstrike killed at least three civilians and injured another in Afghanistan's Khost province Tuesday. Helicopters fired at houses in Khost's Nadershahkot district early Tuesday, killing a woman and two children and injuring a man, said Mubarez Zadran, spokesman for Khost's governor.

#3: Pakistani security forces attacked militant hideouts with helicopter gunships in North Waziristan after one of its men was injured in a blast, media reported on Wednesday.

#4: Firing rockets by Pakistani army from across the Durand Line on the eastern provinces have destroyed six houses and perished several livestock in eastern Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, a border police force chief in the eastern region said Tuesday. The source said the shelling which began late on Monday lasted till morning Tuesday, dozens of rockets had slammed in two parts of Kunar, Paktika and Nuristan provinces.

#5: At least eight civilians including children were killed or injured following an explosion in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan. According to local government officials, the incident took place in Shahr-e-Safa district late Tuesday. Gen. Rogh Lewanai said the incident took place after a vehicle struck with an improvised explosive device.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

War News for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baghdad buttresses defenses ready for wholesale Al Qaeda assault on city

Reported security incidents
#1: Gunmen have abducted the Afghan deputy public works minister in Kabul, officials say. Ahmad Shah Wahid was on his way to work on Tuesday when five gunmen ran his car off the road in northern Kabul, dragged him into their four-wheel-drive vehicle and sped away, said Gul Agha Hashim, the city's police chief of investigations. The armed men shot and wounded Wahid's driver when he tried to drive away to safety, said the public works ministry spokesman Soheil Kakar.

#2: Two Pakistanis were killed in an explosion in Afghanistan near the Pak-Afghan border, some 200 miles north of the city. "They went to the other side of the border and died in the explosion. It is yet to be known whether they were killed in a hand grenade attack or a landmine explosion," Balochsitan Home Secretary Asad Gilani said.

#3: A 16-inch diameter gas pipeline was blown up in Dera Bugti on Tuesday, suspending gas supply to the Sui plant from five pipelines. An unofficial of the Levies personnel said unknown militants planted explosives in the pipeline of wells No 12, 15, 21, 23 and 29 in the Pirkoh area of Dera Bugti. The explosive device was detonated via remote control, thereby damaging the pipeline and suspending gas supply from the wells to the Sui plant.

#4: Another pipeline was blown up in a remote area of Balochistan’s Dera Bugti district, suspending gas supply to Pir Koh gas plants.

#5: One Afghan soldier was killed in a blast, said the Defense Ministry on Monday. "An Afghan National Army soldier was martyred following an improvised explosive device(IED) attack within the last 24 hours," the ministry said in a statement.

#6: A roadside bomb organized by militants struck a vehicle in Khost city, the capital of Khost province 150 km southeast of Kabul, on Monday, killing two people and injuring eight others, all civilians, police said. The tragic incident happened at around 04:00 p.m. local time today when a vehicle of traffic police was passing Balandmanzil line area in Khost city, killing two civilians and injuring eight others," a senior police officer in the city, Faizullah Ghirat told Xinhua.

#7: Dozens of local residents in Hesarak district of Nangarhar province have started armed campaign against the Taliban militants. According to local government officials, heavy clashes were reported between the two sides since early Tuesday morning. He said there are no reports regarding the casualties so far and the local residents are supported by Afghan police forces.

#8: At least seven Taliban militants were killed and six others were arrested during military operations by Afghan security forces in the past 24 hours.

#9: Unknown gunmen shot dead a prominent religious scholar in western Herat province of Afghanistan on Monday night. Local officials in Herat province confirmed that Mir Farooq Hussaini was shot dead in Herat city by unknown gunmen riding a motorcycle.

Monday, April 14, 2014

War News for Monday, April 14, 2014

Pakistan to release more Taliban prisoners

Reported security incidents
#1: At least two drivers in a convoy of Afghanistan-bound NATO tankers in Pakistan’s restive north-west were shot dead on Monday, an official said. Gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and bullets at oil tankers in the Jamrud area near Peshawar city on the main highway leading into Afghanistan, administration official Amjad Khan said.

#2: Afghan security forces killed two Pakistani nationals who had mistakenly entered into Afghanistan near Badini area on Monday morning, a Levies official said. A Levies official who requested not to be named, since he was not authorised to speak to media, told that two shepherds had mistakenly slipped into Afghanistan from Badini. He said the Afghan security forces deployed at the border opened unprovoked gunfire without any warning killing the two shepherds on the spot.

#3: Five insurgents including a key commander were killed on Sunday in a security forces operation in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials said. Security forces launched the operation on a tip-off in a mountainous area in the suburbs of Peshawar, the capital of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bordering Afghanistan.

#4: Afghan police backed by the army have killed 14 Taliban militants and injured six others during series of operations across the country over the past 24 hours, Interior Ministry said in a statement released here on Monday.
#5-7: Nine civilians were killed while three others wounded in attacks in Afghanistan, authorities said on Monday.

#5: In one attack, an anti-Taliban local leader along with two of his body-guards was killed in a Taliban ambush attack in eastern Ghazni province earlier on Monday.

#6: On Sunday evening, two staffs of Afghan National Solidarity Program (NSP) were shot dead in Takhta Pul district of southern province of Kandahar. They were kidnapped on Wednesday April 9. Another three kidnapped workers were released by the militants.

#7: In neighboring Helmand province, the bullet-riddle bodies of four kidnapped workers of a local construction company were found in Gereshk district late on Sunday.

#8: Afghan intelligence operatives foiled a suicide attack plot in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

News of the day for Sunday, April 13, 2014

With 500,000 votes now counted out of more than 7 million cast, Abdullah Abdullah has a slight lead over Asaf Ghani. [However, as inveterate election watchers know, that means nothing at this point.] Abdullah is short of the 50% that would be needed to avoid a runoff in any case.

The Independent Electoral Commission ays it has received more complaints of fraud than in the 2009 presidential election, with a total of 870 complaints it classifies as "priority A," potentially affecting the results. it may need more time than anticipated to investigate them all.

Defense Ministry reports 7 militants killed and 18 detained; Interior Mnistr reports 13 additional arrests. As usual they don't appear to fight back: no reports of government or civilian casualties.

Several incidents are reported in Maidan Wardak. In at least one case, it seems, the Taliban did fight back. In an attack on a supply convoy, thee militants are killed along with a "shotgun" guard and a police officer. A driver and five police officers are injured.

If Ban on Money Laundering and Prevention from Financing Terrorism Law is not approved within next three months, all accounts of Afghanistan banks will be closed with the international banks and transactions will stop according to officials.The necessary legislation has been delayed in bickering between the central bank and Parliament.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

War News for Saturday, April 12, 2014

Second Army officer quits to publish harrowing account of the tragic cost of the Afghanistan war

At least four dead in Afghan quake

Reported security incidents
#1: update to Fridays #1-2 post -- Six militants were killed when their vehicle was blown up with an remote control bomb in the Shawal area (45 kilometres west of Miranshah) of the restless tribal belt.

#2: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a market Friday in eastern Afghanistan, killing a pro-government tribal elder and wounding three civilians, authorities said. The bombing struck the tribal elder Gul Babri at about 2 p.m. in the market of the Jani Khil district of Paktiya province, provincial government spokesman Mokhlis Afghan said.

#3: At least 14 Taliban militants were killed and 9 others were injured during military operations by Afghan national security forces in the past 24 hours.

Friday, April 11, 2014

War News for Friday, April 11, 2014

40 killed during 1-month clashes of TTP rival groups

Reported security incidents
#1-2: At least 13 militants were killed in a bombing and a gunfight in North Waziristan on Friday, the latest clashes in almost a week of infighting between rival Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) factions.

#1: Ten insurgents were killed in clashes that began when members of the Sajna group came under rocket attack in their car in the town of Shawal, a local intelligence official told AFP.

#2: Separately, Sher Amanullah, a commander of the Haqqani militant network, was killed along with two others when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle near the town of Datta Khel, intelligence and militant sources said.

#3: An improvised explosive device planted on roadside at Datakhel in North Waziristan Agency went off on Friday morning, killing at least one person and injuring four others. the bomb blast targeting a vehicle with remote-control device in Tehsil Datakhel of North Waziristan Agency this morning.

#4: At least 16 people were injured as a blast hit a motorbike shop in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore early Friday morning, reported local Urdu TV channel Samaa.

#5: A suicide bomber was killed after attacking the coalition security forces in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan. The incident took place on Thursday afternoon in Spin Boldak district, the local government media office said following a statement.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

War News for Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: The driver of a Nato oil tanker headed to Afghanistan was shot dead by unidentified motorcyclists in Jamrud on Thursday morning. The attack took place as a convoy of seven oil tankers was on its way to Afghanistan, according to security officials.

#2: At least five Taliban militants were killed and eight injured during a clash in Afghanistan, an official said. "The clash erupted in Gereshk district, in Helmand province, late Wednesday night and lasted for a while, during which five armed Taliban rebels were killed and eight others sustained injuries," army spokesman Mohammad Rasoul Zazai told Xinhua.

#3: A bomb blast rocked Afghanistan's southern town of Shahjoi in Helmand province 340 km south of Kabul on Thursday, leaving one civilian dead and two others injured, deputy to provincial police chief Ghulam Jilani Farahi said. "Three innocent children were busy on a ground in Shahjoi district at 11:00 a.m. local time when they found a device and began playing but the device exploded killing one on the spot and injuring two others with one in critical condition," Farahi told Xinhua.

#4: Afghan security forces foiled a deadly suicide attack plot in western Herat province of Afghanistan, the security officials said Thursday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

War News for Wednesday, April 09, 2014

BBC   Nato troops in Afghanistan 'often made conflict worse' -- A Territorial Army captain has resigned to publish a book critical of British actions in Afghanistan. He quit his role in the TA after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) refused to give him permission to publish the study.

Reported security incidents
#1: A bomb has ripped through a fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, killing at least 18 people and leaving dozens more wounded.

#2: Fresh clashes on Tuesday between two feuding factions of the Pakistani Taliban left 14 people dead, security officials and militant sources said. A total of 34 people have now been killed since fighting broke out Sunday in the Waziristan tribal district between supporters of Khan Said Sajna and followers of the late Hakimullah Mehsud, they said. Militant sources suggested that differences emerged after Khan Said Sajna, a senior commander, was rejected for leadership of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) umbrella group, after its former leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike last November.

#3: At least 35 Taliban have been killed throughout several provinces of Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, Afghan Ministry of Interior claimed on Wednesday.

#4: Kabul (BNA) including two Pakistani nationals’ twelve insurgents was killed during a military operation in Nangarhar province.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

War News for Tuesday, April 08, 2014

More than 3,000 reports of violations in Afghanistan election

Reported security incidents
#1: At least 12 passengers were killed and more than 30 wounded on Tuesday when militants bombed a train in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, hospital sources and officials said. The blast came a day after Pakistani security forces said they had killed 30 separatist militants in one of the biggest clashes in months in the gas-rich province. There was no claim of responsibility for the blast and it was not clear if it was related to the fighting. The bomb went off on the Rawalpindi-bound Jaffar Express in a carriage reserved for men, in the town of Sibi, 120 km (75 miles) southeast of the provincial capital of Quetta.

Paramilitary troops said they launched a military operation in Balochistan on Monday and killed some 40 rebels. The toll could not be independently verified. The Frontier Corps said in a statement the operation began early Monday in the Farod area of Kalat district. “Around 40 insurgents belonging to the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) and Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) were killed during the operation,” it said. “Six vehicles were also destroyed during the operation and it is still going on.” Security and rebel accounts of clashes often differ greatly and spokesmen for the two separatist groups have so far declined to comment. Some local residents said a military helicopter had been shot down, but the FC denied the reports. It said the helicopter made an emergency landing on a road in Kalat and the pilot and co-pilot were safe.

#2: An Afghan official says a roadside bomb has killed at least 15 people in vehicles that had been diverted from a main road after an earlier attack in southern Afghanistan. Local government spokesman Dawkhan Menapal says two SUVs carrying civilians were traveling on a side road after the main road was blocked following a suicide bombing targeting a convoy of NATO troops in Kandahar province.

According to reports, a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of the NATO-led coalition security forces in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan. The incident took place on Monday afternoon in Maiwand district of Kandahar province. A local government official said the suicide bomber targeted the convoy of the coalition forces by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

#3: A Pakistan military aircraft on Tuesday crashed in the Punjab province while on a training flight, killing both the pilots on board. The small two-seater Mushshak aircraft was on a routine training flight when it crashed due to a technical fault in Rahwali Cantt Gujranwala, a statement from the army said.  It said both the pilots aboard the plane died in the crash.

#4: Afghan officials claimed that 32 Taliban fighters were killed with eight others wounded in nationwide raids by the country's security forces. Eleven militants were also captured during the 24-hour operation, the Afghan interior ministry claimed in a statement on Tuesday.

#5: A Chaparhar district official for villages’ affairs in eastern Nangarhar province was shot dead by unidentified gunmen, an officials said Tuesday. Unknown armed men took Hazrat Wali, in charge for villages affairs of the district out of his house overnight and shot him fatally in the restive district, where Chief, Qazi Nazir told Wakht News Agency that he had no personnel enmity with anyone.

#6: At least 17 prominent Taliban leaders including the Taliban shadow governor were killed following an airstrike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan on Monday.

Two top leaders were killed following a drone strike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan on Monday.

Monday, April 7, 2014

War News for Monday, April 07, 2014

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF civilian from a non-combat related injury in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Monday, April 3rd.

Drone attacks may continue after US pullout

690 attacks recorded during elections day in Afghanistan

Afghan election officials receive 1269 complaints of potential fraud

Reported security incidents
#1: Five militants associated with banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed in an ambush in restive South Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan, SAMAA reported. Security officials said the incident took place in South Waziristan’s Shaktoi area where a vehicle carrying the TTP militants was fired upon by unknown armed assailants. Five militants of TTP’s Hakimullah Mehsud group were killed and another injured as the attackers managed to flee, officials said, claiming that the attack seemed to result of enmity between two rival militant groups.

#2: The Afghan Interior Ministry said on Monday that 29 Taliban insurgents were killed, 12 wounded while 13 other militants were detained in cleanup operations since early Sunday.

#3: Four Afghan police were killed while three policemen were wounded Monday when their van was struck by a bomb in the country's western province of Herat, a police source said. "A police van set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in Shindand district at midday. As a result of the blast, four Afghan National Police members were martyred and three others wounded," a police spokesman in the province Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told Xinhua.

#4: A group of unknown gunmen attempted to abduct an Afghan journalist – Tamim Hamid in capital Kabul late Sunday. The incident took place late Sunday evening in Baraki area of Kabul city, Tamim Hamid said in a twitter message. He said a group of four gunmen armed with silencer guns forced him inside a car and were looking to take him to an unknown location, however he managed to escape from the car.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, April 6, 2014

About 50% of registered voters -- 7 million people -- are estimate to have turned out for local and presidential elections. Despite Taliban threats to disrupt the voting, there were not major attacks reported. President Karzai, and presidential candidates, hailed the event as a historic step forward for Afghanistan. Results will not be known for some time. However, the day was not free of violence: the interior minster said "said four civilians, nine police and seven soldiers had been killed in violence on election day." Two hundred polling places did not open due to security concerns.

A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying ballot boxes in Kunduz, killing three people including an Independent Election Commission (IEC) member, and destroying eight ballot boxes. A separate account from DPA gives the casualty toll as two IEC members and one police officer.

Two people are killed and nine injured in Helmand province in three separate mortar attacks and one roadside bomb incident.

IEC receives over 1,200 complaints of fraud, most by mobile phone. [Of course many could be duplicative or frivolous.] Only 162 complaints were made in writing and provide a basis for investigation. There also appear to have been shortages of ballots in some locations.

The Defense Ministry paints a somewhat less peaceful picture of the day, saying that there were 690 attacks reported by militants over the course of election day; and that 142 militants had been killed along with 7 soldiers, and 45 soldiers injured. The electorate is said to have been 65% male.

NYT's Azem Ahmed repors that in some rural areas, the Talban did not need to perpetrate any attacks to prevent voting. In some districts, residents were too frightened, or too disenchanted with the government, to vote.

As a bellwether for legitimacy and inclusion, Nangarhar is a crucial province. With a large concentration of potential votes, and with one of the country’s major cities, Jalalabad, as its capital, Nangarhar proved to be decisive in President Hamid Karzai’s 2009 election. This time around it is shaping up to be symbolic for another reason: the potential disenfranchisement of wide stretches of the countryside. The government closed nearly 25 percent of the voting centers in the province, calling them too dangerous to secure. In reality, the number is probably far higher, undermining any potential claim to representative government. In Shinwar, for instance, hardly any of the 18 polling stations were officially closed on Saturday.

Pakistan claims that 12 mortar shells were fired from Afghanistan into North Waziristan on Sunday. No casualties were reported.

Despite the problems, Helena Malikyar writes for Al Jazeera that "The air was filled with enthusiasm, hope and a kind of energy that I had only felt on Nowruz 2002, the first Afghan New Year's Day after the fall of the Taliban. Twelve years later, however, there was an added aura of determination and defiance." She notes the slowly changing mores about the place of women in society, as exemplified by one of the candidates' wives appearing alongside her husband to vote; and an improving and more legitimate democratic process as signs of a better potential future for Afghanistan.

International leaders praise the conduct of the election.

[I looked for a more pessimistic or critical assessment, but couldn't find any. The consensus seems to be that the voting was a success, at least relative to Afghanistan's past, that the Taliban appear weakened, and that the Afghan people are looking to a more democratic and liberal future. We shall see what the coming months and years will bring. -- C]

Update: Okay, I found a party pooper. Eric Margolis, at Common Dreams,  thinks it's all an exercise in neo-colonialism and that the Taliban would win if they were on the ballot. His prediction:

Washington’s current plan is to install a new, post-Karzai Afghan client regime in Kabul, and keep control of the 400,000-man Afghan police and army who fight for US dollars. The tame Afghan regime will then “invite” some 16,000 US soldiers and airmen, plus large numbers of tribal mercenaries, to stay on and keep Taliban at bay.
My take on this is that the U.S. just doesn't have enough real interest in Afghanistan to keep spilling so much blood and treasure. I think Afghan society is riven by ethnicity, and by a cultural divide between a growing cosmopolitan sector that looks toward a native form of modernity, and the fiercely traditional countryside; and that any country that has no tradition of democracy or honest government is going to have trouble establishing a regime which is stable, reasonably just, and provides a basis for economic and cultural development. But I also think a lot of Afghans want to achieve this and it's not because they are tools of the West. How it will all come out, however, I do not know.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

War News for Saturday, April 05, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Four voters were wounded in an explosion at a polling station in the southeastern province of Logar. "The blast took place close to a polling station which is a school building and wounded four voters, one critically," Abdul Hameed, governor of the province's Mohammad Agha district, told Reuters.

#2: Three Pakistani Rangers were killed and 36 others were injured, 13 critically, Saturday when their speeding truck overturned in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

#3: At least six mortar shells were fired from the Afghanistan side of the Pak-Afghan border on Saturday that landed in Pakistan’s bordering areas in North and South Waziristan Agency (NWA), but no loss of life reported. Sources said that four mortar shells fired from Afghanistan landed at Bangidar in Tehsil Ghulam Khan of North Waziristan, while two mortar shells were also fired into South Waziristan from Afghanistan. Fortunately, no loss of life reported in both the incidents.

#4: At least 24 Taliban militants were killed and 4 others were injured during military operations by Afghan national security forces in the past 24 hours.

#5: A suicide bomber was arrested by Afghan police forces before he manage to enter a polling station in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.

#6: Heavy clashes were reported among the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban militants in eastern Paktika province of Afghanistan on Friday. Afghan intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS) officials said the incident took place around 12:40 pm local time in Wana district.

Friday, April 4, 2014

War News for Friday, April 04, 2014

Signs of underground ocean found on Saturn moon - [off topic] -- whisker

Reported security incidents
#1: Canadian-born journalist working for the Associated Press was wounded Friday while on assignment in Afghanistan. Kathy Gannon, 60, of Timmins, Ont., was shot twice and the news agency said she was in stable condition and talking to medical personnel. However, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, 48, of Germany was killed in the attack in eastern Afghanistan. The news agency said an Afghan police officer opened fire on the pair while they were sitting in their car in the outskirts of Khost city in Tani district. They were in their own car with a freelancer and a driver waiting for the convoy to move when a unit commander walked up yelled “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and opened fire on them in the back seat with his AK-47. He then surrendered to the other police and was arrested.

#2: A semi-official Iranian news agency is reporting that an al-Qaida-affiliated militant group operating in a lawless frontier area along the Pakistan-Iran border has released Iranian border guards abducted two months ago. Friday´s report by the Fars news agency quotes an unnamed official as saying the guards were handed over to Iranian officials in Pakistan. It did not elaborate.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

War News for Thursday, April 03, 2014

Pakistan frees 16 Taliban prisoners in bid to revive peace talks

War and Unrest Provide for a Scarred Campaign Trail in Afghanistan

Reported security incidents
#1: A suicide bombing killed six policemen at the Afghan Interior Ministry compound in one of the capital's most heavily fortified areas Wednesday, part of a recent escalation in violence in the heart of Kabul. The bomber, wearing a military uniform, passed through several checkpoints to reach the ministry gate before detonating his explosives in the midst of other uniformed men entering the compound, according to the Interior Ministry, which oversees the Afghan police. Police officer Baryalai, who like many Afghans uses only one name, said the bombing took place near a bank close to the entrance gate. Police officers collect their paychecks at the bank.

#2: Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who is on trial for treason, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt as a bomb went off along a route on which his convoy was due to pass early on Thursday, police said. The bomb was planted along a road Musharraf was due to take from a Rawalpindi army hospital, where he has been staying since January, to his home on the outskirts of Islamabad and went off at around 2am (9pm GMT Wednesday).

#3: At least two people were killed on Wednesday in a powerful bomb blast near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing at Chaman. The explosion occurred near Wesh area on the Afghan side of the border, injuring over a dozen other people.

#4: Up to 28 Taliban militants were killed while 25 others wounded as Afghan security forces launched military operations since early Wednesday, said the country's Interior Ministry on Thursday.

#5: At least two Afghan national army (ANA) soldiers were killed following improvised explosive device (IED) explosion. Defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi said the two Afghan national army (ANA) soldiers were martyred in the past 24 hours.

DoD: Capt. James E. Chaffin III

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

War News for Wednesday, April 02, 2014

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from a non-combat related injury in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Monday, April 1st.

British Armed Forces complete handover of Helmand Province

Reported security incidents
#1: A suicide bomber wearing a military uniform struck the entrance gate of the Interior Ministry compound Wednesday in the heart of the Afghan capital, officials said, the latest in a wave of violence to rock Kabul as the Taliban threaten to disrupt this weekend's elections. The Interior Ministry, which oversees Afghan police, said the blast wounded a number of police officers. It did not elaborate.

#2: Earlier Wednesday, an Afghan official said Taliban gunmen killed nine people, including a candidate running for a seat in the provincial council, who had been abducted in northern Afghanistan. The governor of Sar-i-Pul province, Abdul Jabar Haqbeen, said authorities received word that the candidate, Hussain Nazari, and the others were killed overnight by their abductors. They were seized by the Taliban three days ago while traveling to the provincial capital.

#3: At least two people were killed and 13 injured Wednesday in a powerful explosion near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, police said. The blast ripped through a private bank in the Vash Mandi area on the Afghan side of the border, Dawn online reported.

#4: At least three people were killed while two others were injured when identified men opened fire at a car in Satellite Town of Quetta, a private news channel reported. According to the report, armed men riding a motorcycle opened fire at a car and killed three people onboard.

#5: At least 32 Taliban militants were killed or injured during coordinated military operations by Afghan national security forces in the past 24 hours. The operations were conducted by Afghan national police (ANP) in cooperation with the Afghan national army (ANA) and Afghan intelligence – national directorate of security (NDS) operatives.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

War News for Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Afghan army hunts Taliban ahead of elections

CSTO chief critical of NATO's drug fighting efforts in Afghanistan

CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says

Afghanistan sees growing monthly casualties in March

Reported security incidents
#1: A total of 29 insurgents were killed as Afghan security forces launched a series of military operations within the last 24 hours, said the Afghan Interior Ministry on Tuesday morning.

#2: At least three people were killed and six others injured when some unknown armed men opened fire at a passenger train in Pakistan's southwest Bolan District on Monday afternoon, local media reported. Express TV said that the armed men opened fire at Akbar Bugti Express as soon as it came out of a tunnel in Mach area of Bolan, a district in the country's southwest Balochistan Province.

#3: At least 16 senior Taliban commanders were killed following a suicide attack in eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan on Tuesday. Afghan Intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS) said the incident took place in a Taliban leaders gathering in Gelan district. National Directorate of Security (NDS) following a statement said the Taliban leaders were planning coordinated attacks in Ghazni province when a Taliban suicide bomber opposed with the Taliban leaders plans and detonated his explosives.

#4: At least six Taliban commanders were killed following a suicide blast in eastern Logar province of Afghanistan on Tuesday.  According to NDS officials, the incident took place around 12:30 pm local time in Charkh district. The officials further added that the Taliban commanders were looking to prepare a suicide bomber for an attack when the suicide bombing vest went off.

#5: At least nine Taliban militants were killed or injured during military operations by Afghan national police (ANP) forces in northern Faryab province.