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

Monday, June 30, 2014

War News for Monday, June 30, 2014

ISIS declares 'caliphate' stretching across Iraq and Syria

Reported security incidents
#1: The Taliban have established a foothold in southern Afghanistan in a 10-day battle against Afghan forces, locals said Sunday, as the army and police struggle to prove they can defeat the insurgents without NATO help. A coordinated assault by 800 Taliban fighters on police checkpoints and military posts began on June 19, with Afghan forces rushing to recapture parts of Sangin district in Helmand province.

#2: The Pakistani army has launched a major ground assault in North Waziristan's tribal areas. It comes after two weeks of air strikes on targets associated with the Taliban. Pakistani forces moved into the northwestern town of Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan and a Taliban stronghold on Monday. In a statement, the military said it had found underground tunnels and bomb-making factories there.

#3: Units of Afghan police backed by the army have killed 14 Taliban militants during operations in Taliban former stronghold the southern Helmand province over the past 24 hours, the Interior Ministry said in a statement released here on Monday.

At least 60 militants were killed during clashes with the Afghan national army (ANA) soldiers in various parts of Afghanistan.

#4: Eight Afghan military forces were martyred in Logar province last night. Abdul Hakim Ashaqzai police chief of Logar province told BNA, in clashes between armed oppositions and Afghan security forces, a National army and seven National police forces were martyred in Arza district, Logar province.

#5: The Pakistani military fired 21 more rockets in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, local officials said. The officials further added that the rockets were fired on Sunday night in Shegal and Dangam districts.

#6: At least three Taliban militants were killed following a US drone strike in eastern Kunar province.

#7: At least ten Afghan national army (ANA) soldiers were martyred in separate improvised explosive device (IED) attacks.

#8: The anti-government armed militants attacked a NATO military base with a rocket in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, June 29, 2014

The National discusses deteriorating security in Paktia province, which borders Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region. “After 8pm no one can walk inside the city of Gardez, villages are at war and the highways are not safe. That is all very obvious,” said Abdul Basid Sabawoon, a shopkeeper. “There is not an exact name for those responsible. Anyone can call themselves a Talib. Thieves, kidnappers and criminals are all called Talibs.”

Daniel Menard, a former Canadian general and now head of Aghanistan operations for the mercenary firm Garda, is expected to be released from jail in Kabul. He had been detained on gun smuggling charges. The company says this is an administrative dispute related to its licensing.

Pakistan refuses to accept a requested visit from Hamid Karzai, tells him to send a delegation instead. This appears to reflect both Pakistan's unhappiness with his frequent accusations that they harbor Afghan insurgents (which happen to be true), with his harboring Pakistani insurgents, and his overall declining credibility and stature.

Local officials say many of the Pakistani refugees in Khost are armed. (A huge influx of refugees has followed fighting in Pakistan. Afghanistan and its provinces are ill equipped to deal with them.)

ANA claims victory in battle in Helmand province, saying Taliban failed to hold on to any territory. However, Taliban say fighting in Sangin continues. The ANA says it has been slowed in retaking territory by land mines.

Update:  No surprise, the ANA claim is evidently false. AFP reports Taliban control Barekzai and Bostanzai in Sangin, according to a tribal leader who had fled the area.

A massive fire destroys a wood market in Kabul. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Iraq Update: Although the Iraqi government claimed yesterday to have retaken Tikrit (claims I abstained from linking) that was clearly not true, as air strikes on Tikrit continue along with ground fighting. According to AP, "The insurgents appeared to have repelled the military’s initial push for Tikrit, and remained in control of the city on Sunday, but clashes were taking place in the northern neighborhood of Qadissiyah, two residents reached by telephone said."
In further geo-political weirding, Iraq has taken delivery of 5 Russian Sukhoi-25 fighter jets. Although the U.S. has promised F-16s, they have never been delivered.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

News of the Day for Saturday, June 28, 2014

Taliban assault in Helmand province continues with attacks on police and government facilities. Focus of assault is Sangin, with additional attacks in  Now Zad, Musa Qala and Kajacki. However, more specific information on fighting and casualties is lacking, beyond the overall estimates of more than 100 Afghan forces and 50 civilian dead noted yesterday. WaPo has some interviews and background.

As usual, the Afghan Interior Ministry issues claims of Taliban dead only and does not say anything about government or civilian casualties. Today they claim 79 Taliban dead in various operations in the past 24 hours. There is no particular reason to believe this.

Massive demonstrations continue in Kabul  supporting Abdullah and his claims of electoral fraud. Abdullah has joined the demonstrations personally.

Some 65,000 Pakistanis have taken refuge in Afghanistan from fighting in North Waziristan, out of a total of half a million who have been displaced. This situation is unprecedented and it is unclear how the Afghan government can respond given the battle in Helmand and its paralysis in the face of the disputed election.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, government forces are mounting an effort to re-takeTikrit, amid competing claims by ISIL and Baghdad over their degree of success so far. [Fars and Iraqiya continue to publish extravagant claims of military success; these have repeatedly proven false in recent days so I am not linking to them. We'll have to wait a couple of days to see what's really happening. -- C]

Explainer: As for the ISIS/ISIL thing. The organization does not recognize the existence of Syria; it's name, in English, is best rendered as Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, the latter term referring to the region that includes Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine including of course the state of Israel whose existence they also do not recognize. The equivalent English term, which is a bit old-fashioned, is the Levant, which is why some people use the "L" instead of "S". So there you have it.

Kurdistan mobilizes retired peshmerga and expands recruiting. Their stated intention is solely to defend territory they already control, including Kirkuk which Kurdistan has vowed to retain, and not to reconquer additional territory on behalf of Baghdad. [In my view, this completes the de facto secession of Kurdistan, as the peshmerga are explicitly no longer functioning as a component of the Iraqi army. -- C]


Friday, June 27, 2014

News of the Day for Friday, June 27, 2014

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Sgt. Thomas Z. Spitzer, 23, of New Braunfels, Texas, died June 25 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California.

Four police are killed and one injured in attacks on checkpoints  in Chamtal and Chahar Bolak districts, Balkh province, according to the provincial police chief. The Taliban claim 7 Afghan forces killed.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan expresses concern about civilian casualties from ongoing fighting in Helmand. "the UN Mission is particularly concerned about the launching of mortars and grenades into populated areas which has resulted in civilian casualties, and calls on the parties to take all necessary measures to reduce harm to civilians from the use of these weapons." While the UN has documented 30 civilian deaths in the past week, note that yesterday local officials in Sangin district, where the fighting is concentrated, reported at least 50 deaths, as reported here and linked on this site yesterday.

President Obama asks Congress for $58.6 billion to fund the war in Afghanistan. That probably sounds like a lot of money to you, but it's the smallest request in a decade.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

News of the Day for Thursday, June 26, 2014

Whisker is traveling today.

A NATO service member, of unspecified nationality, is killed in action in southern Afghanistan.

Two civilians and a policeman injured by bomb in Kandahar province.

Drone crashes in Bamyan province, nationality unspecified but presumably U.S.

Afghan troops launch counteroffensive against Taliban assault in Sangin, Helmand province. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson says 150 Taliban killed, while local officials say 20 police, 13 soldiers, and more than 50 civilians dead. Although Interior Ministry says Afghan forces have not requested NATO support, in fact NATO says it has provided close air support, reconnaissance, and intelligence. (Note: Interior Ministry is a notoriously unreliable source of information.)

Abdullah releases and audiotape purporting to be the Maidan Wardak governor convincing an army officer not to prevent ballot stuffing. Video released by Abdullah purports to show ballot stuffing.

A spokesperson for the very same governor of Maidan Wardak says 8 Taliban killed including a commander and 2 Pakistani nationals in an operation last night.

U.S. says Lakshar-e-Taiba responsible for May 23 attack on Indian consulate in Herat. The organization is based in Pakistan.

while local officials in Helmand said 20 police and 13 soldiers had died, as well as more than 50 civilians - See more at:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

War News for Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1-2: A bomb hidden in a push cart and detonated by remote control near a government building in northern Afghanistan killed four people on Wednesday while a rocket attack near the Kabul airport wounded four, officials said.

#1: The explosion, which struck early in the morning near the governor's building in Dawlat Abad district, also wounded 13 civilians, said Sayed Massoud Yaqoubi, the police spokesman in Faryab province.

#2: Meanwhile, Kabul police chief spokesman, Hashmat Stanikzai, said four people were wounded when two rockets struck near Kabul's international airport overnight.

#3: Separately, an Interior Ministry statement said three insurgents were killed late Tuesday night as they inadvertently detonated a roadside bomb they were trying to plant in the Domanda district in eastern Khost province.

#4: At least 100 Taliban militants have been killed in fighting around four military checkpoints in southern Afghanistan, local officials say, according to BBC News. Five days of clashes in Sangin district in Helmand province left 35 civilians and at least 21 Afghan troops dead. Tribal elders in the area say over 2,000 families have been displaced. There is no independent confirmation of the number of dead. The militants said on Tuesday, June 24 that only two of their fighters had been killed and that more than 40 soldiers had died.

At least four insurgents lost their lives an operation launched by National police forces in Helmand province the night before last.

#5: Two police and one civilian were killed Tuesday when Taliban insurgent fighters launched an attack on a police checkpoint in western Herat province, police said.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

War News for Tuesday, June 24, 2014

ISIS in Iraq stinks of CIA/NATO ‘dirty war’ op

Pakistan rejects Afghanistan’s allegations -- Pakistan on Tuesday rejected the Afghan allegation that Pakistani troops in civilian dress were doing any action inside Afghanistan

Over 450,000 people displaced in northwestern Pakistan

Reported security incidents
#1: An Afghan official says an attack at a police checkpoint in the country's west has killed four people, two policemen and two civilians. Administrative district chief Mohammad Rafiq Alokozay says gunmen opened fire and lobbed hand grenades at the checkpoint in Obey district in Herat province on Tuesday.

Read more here:

Read more here:

#2: Thirteen more terrorists were killed as military jets continued strikes to destroy terrorists’ hideouts in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency bordering Afghanistan, SAMAA reported. According to ISPR, the military aircrafts targeted hideouts on Tuesday morning, killing 13 terrorists during the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb operation.

#3: An Afghan police officer opened fire Monday inside a security compound in Gardez, Afghanistan, wounding two advisers from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, authorities said. Coalition soldiers returned fire and killed the attacker, Paktia province police Chief Zalmay Oryakhel told CNN.

#4: A total of 104 people, including 35 civilians have been killed as clash continues between Taliban militants and security forces in southern Helmand province, a former Taliban stronghold over the past four days, spokesman for provincial administration Omar Zawak said on Tuesday. "During the clash which begun four days ago, 104 persons, including 24 security personnel, 35 civilians and 45 Taliban militants have been killed," Zawak told Xinhua. He also said that more than 800 Taliban insurgents are involved in the clash against security forces in Sangid district.

#5: Pakistan army said a suicide bomber killed two soldiers and a civilian in North Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday.

#6: The Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs on Tuesday said that the country's security forces had killed 22 Taliban militants during operations since early Monday.

#7: A group of armed Taliban attacked on Dasht Archi district of Kunduz province, faced with resistance of Afghan security forces in which four rebels including Qari Ataullah a leader of rebels killed.

#8: Another report says: A Mine blast wounded two security guards of Machalgho Dam of Paktia province. Col. Zalmai Oryakhail security chief of Paktia said BNA, the incident occurred while the vehicle of the guards crossing the road  hit a road side mine, in which two policemen wounded.

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart

Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant

Lance Cpl. Adam F. Wolff

Monday, June 23, 2014

War News for Monday, June 23, 2014

Abducted Afghan students, lecturers released by Taliban

NL in new Afghanistan military

Republicans Dick Cheney and Rand Paul clash over blame for Iraq crisis

Reported security incidents
#1-2: An Army jawan and a civilian were injured in two separate mine blasts in the border belt of Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, officials said today.

#1: During patrolling in the forward area, Mr Mohd Maroof of the 17th Battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JKLI) stepped on a mine resulting in explosion at Dugwar along the Line of Control in Poonch district yesterday.

#2: In another incident, a civilian, Mr Mohmmad Ayoub, stepped on a mine leading to an explosion while he was grazing cattle in Karmara belt of Poonch district last evening.

#3: Seven Afghan army troops were killed Monday in a roadside bomb attack in the country 's southern province of Zabul, authorities said. "An army vehicle set off a roadside bomb planted by the militants in Shah Hassan Khel area of Shahjoy district Monday morning," the district governor Malik Ali Mohammad told Xinhua.

#4: A commander of Taliban with his brother killed and three other insurgents wounded in air attack of NATO forces in Nangarhar province.

#5: At least nine people were injured following five back-back-back explosions in eastern Paktia province of Afghanistan on Sunday. According to local government officials, the incident took place in Gardez city on late Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, June 22, 2014

Taliban fire eight rockets at NATO airfield in Jalalabad, apparently causing no significant damage.

Bomb placed in a garbage can in Jalabad kills 3 police and 1 civilian, also injures 1 civilian and 1 police man.

Ministry of the Interior says 2 Taliban accused of cutting the fingers of voters have been killed in a special operation. [No specific doubt on this claim, but MoI press releases are frequently not credible. -- bl]

Taliban attack a police outpost in Sangin, Helmand province, resulting in the deaths of 10 insurgents and 2 police after a four-hour gun battle.

Let's put the Interior Ministry and Defense Ministry daily statements side by side. We lie, you decide.

Ministry of the Interior: At least 52 Taliban killed, 19 injured, 3 captured in various operations in past 24 hours. Zero government or civilian casualties are reported.

Ministry of Defense: 23 militants and 6  Afghan National Army soldiers killed in past 24 hours.

Supporters of Abdullah demonstrate in Kabul and Herat claiming electoral fraud.

Independent Electoral Commission postpones vote counting, essentially in a concession to Abdullah. Former UN official and current academic researcher Massoumeh Torfeh here discusses the situation in-depth for al Jazeera. She cites findings of evidence of substantial fraud and government manipulation -- it seems Abdullah is not just a sore loser.

Meanwhile, back in the cradle of civilization: Sunni insurgents capture 3 towns in Anbar, apparently with the objective of capturing Haditha and its hydroelectric dam. (Since I haven't heard anything about the Mosul dam, I'm assuming the insurgents have wisely decided not to mess with the pesh merga who guard it.) McClatchy reports that the contingent beseiged in the Beiji oil refinery cannot hold out much longer. "A US security official told ABC News that the garrison is running low on ammunition, food and water and would be unlikely to hold out much longer as ISIS firmly controls the approaches that the Iraqi Army would have to fight through to relieve them." Government claims to have killed 40 insurgents in Tikrit, apparently by means of air strikes.

In a very interesting development, an  unknown buyer has purchased the first tanker of Kurdistan crude, delivered to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. The Kurdish and Israeli governments deny Israeli government involvement (although obviously they allowed it). Kurdistan needs to be able to sell its crude independent of Baghdad in order to achieve independence. Baghdad has threatened to sue any buyers. The U.S. says it does not support independent sale of Kurdistan crude oil.

Read more here:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

War News for Saturday, June 21, 2014

NATO is reporting the deaths of three ISAF soldiers from an IED blast in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Friday, June 20th. A military dog also was killed in the blast. News reports that the three killed are U.S. Marines.

Marine from NH Killed by Roadside Bomb in Afghanistan -- Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant

Afghan protesters allege fraud after landslide decision in presidential election

More than 400 US military drones lost in crashes

Bomb blast at Islamabad shrine injures 40

Sunni militants seize Iraq crossing on Syria border, kill 30 Iraqi troops

Dick Cheney's amazing chutzpah on Iraq

Iraq Insurgents Reaping Wealth as They Advance

Reported security incidents
#1: A suicide car bombing in Kabul aimed at a senior government official killed one civilian and wounded three others on Saturday but did not harm its apparent target, Afghan security officials said. Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle alongside the armoured car of Mohammed Masoom Stanikzai, a senior official in the High Peace Council, a government body tasked with peace talks with the Taliban insurgency. The two men are not related. 
#2: Helicopter gunships pounded militant targets in Pakistan's northwest on Saturday, killing up to 30 rebels, as the number of civilians fleeing an expected ground offensive passed 200,000. 
#3: An Afghan provincial governor on Friday escaped an ambush attack in northern Balkh province in which two of his bodyguards were killed, the authorities said. "Gunmen wearing police uniform fired on General Juma Khan Hamdard's motorcade, leaving two bodyguards killed and three guards wounded on outskirts of provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif city late Friday morning," a security source told Xinhua.
#4: At least 19 Taliban militants were killed following military operations by Afghan national security forces in the past 24 hours.
#5: At least two people were killed and three others were injured following clashes between Paktia governor guards and policemen in Kabul-Mazar highway on Friday.

Friday, June 20, 2014

War News for Friday, June 20, 2014

Pak woman lawmaker succumbs to bullet injuries

Iraqi forces rally near Baghdad to repel ISIL militants’ advance

300 U.S. advisers heading for Iraq, but what will they actually do?

Islamist militants bear down on Iraqi forces; seize chemical weapons facility

Reported security incidents
#1: An Afghan official says a mortar shell fired by the Taliban struck a home in a volatile eastern province, killing one child and wounding five. Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the spokesman for the governor in Nangarhar province said the attack took place on Friday in Momand Dara district.

#2: Pakistani helicopter gunships pounded militant targets in the country’s northwest on Friday, killing up to 20 rebels, as the number of civilians fleeing an expected ground offensive passed 150,000. A senior security official told reporters helicopter gunships targeted militant hideouts in an early morning raid in Kutabkhel area of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, killing up to 20 militants.

#3: Two policemen were killed, and two others injured on Friday as a result of an improvised explosive device (IED) blast on a police van in Peshwar. The attack took place in Akazai area of Torghar district.

#4: At least three people were killed and six others injured on Thursday evening in a suicide attack at a house in Pakistan's northwestern metropolitan of Peshawar, local media reported. All the deceased and wounded people were reportedly guests who came to meet the "Peace Committee" chief.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

War News for Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tens of thousands flee Pakistan offensive

Afghan election in peril over Abdullah's fraud claims

Reported security incidents
#1: Four Taliban militants struck a NATO post in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar on Thursday, destroying dozens of trucks and sparking a gun battle with police, Afghan officials said. The attack took place in the parking compound of a NATO base near the Torkham crossing on the Pakistani border, near the Khyber Pass and a main supply route for NATO-led forces in land-locked Afghanistan. He said 37 trucks containing fuel and other supplies were destroyed in explosions set off by the attackers.

#2: Four persons were killed and more than twenty injured when a vehicle carrying IDPs from North Waziristan Agency turned turtle while they were on their way to Bannu on Thursday, Geo News reported.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

War News for Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ahmad Zia Massoud claims victory for Ghani in election runoff

US-based Afghan Journalist detained in southern Kandahar

Reported security incidents
#1: At least five militants were killed in two separate US drone strikes early Wednesday in a northwest tribal district where Pakistan has this week launched a major military offensive. Local security officials said six missiles hit three compounds in Dargah Mandi village in North Waziristan, around 10 kilometres (six miles) west of the main town of Miranshah in an area considered a stronghold for the Al Qaeda linked Haqqani network.

#2: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MNA Tahira Asif was shifted to a hospital in a critical condition after she sustained bullet injuries here on Wednesday. According to reports, unidentified gunmen opened fire on her when she was on her way to Islamabad.
#3: At least nine people including two women and a policeman were killed Wednesday morning in two separate firing incidents in different areas of Pakistan, local media reported.

#4: At least 55 Taliban militants were killed following counter-terrorism operations conducted by Afghan national security forces in the past 24 hours.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

War News for Tuesday, June 17, 2014

US hikes surveillance on Afghan-Pakistan border: US general

Thousands flee Pakistan military operation for Afghanistan

Fighting northeast of Baghdad kills 44 detainees

Militants Attack Central Iraq City of Baquba: Officials

Reported security incidents
#1: Pakistani officials say at least 15 suspected militants were killed on Tuesday as military jets pounded targets in a northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

#2: A child was killed and five others were injured following a rocket attack by Taliban militants in eastern Kunar province. Another local security official said the main target of the rocket was a security check post; however, the mortar fired landed on a residential house.

Monday, June 16, 2014

War News for Monday, June 16, 2014

Militants Claim Mass Execution of Iraqi Forces --  claim to have killed 1,700 soldiers in Tikrit

Reported security incidents
#1: Pakistani warplanes have resumed air strikes in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, a day after the army announced the start of a major military operation to flush fighters out of the volatile region bordering Afghanistan. Security officials said that fighter jets bombed two government schools west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, early on Monday, killing at least 15 fighters who were sheltering in them.

#2: A roadside bomb planted by the Afghan Taliban killed 5 civilians from the same family in the southern Kandahar province on Monday, the Interior Ministry said.

#3: In a separate incident, four soldiers have been killed and five injured in a road side blast in the town of Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan. Official sources told Al Jazeera the security convoy was targeted close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, adding that they cordoned off the area and launched a search operation for suspects.

#4: A powerful blast rocked Mazar-e-Sharif city, capital of northern Balkh province, 305 km north of Kabul on Monday, injuring at least five people, provincial police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said. "According to initial investigation, five people were injured in the blast and one of them was in critical condition,"Rahimi told the press at the site of the blast.

#5: The Afghan Defense Ministry on Monday morning said that its troops battled the insurgents in six provinces out of 34 within day, killing 67 and injuring 36 other militants.

DoD: Staff Sgt. Scott R. Studenmund

DoD: Staff Sgt. Jason A. McDonald

DoD: Spc. Justin R. Helton

DoD: Cpl. Justin R. Clouse

DoD: Pvt. 2nd Class Aaron S. Toppen

Sunday, June 15, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, June 15, 2014

Roadside bomb hits a minibus in Samangan province killing 11 civilians, including 4 election workers. However, TOLO says 10 of the dead were election observers, specifically for Abdullah Adbullah.

A clash in Kandahar city results in the deaths of 7 would-be suicide bombers and one police officer. According to this account, six of the attackers entered a police headquarters after one detonated his explosives outside. The authorities responded cautiously so as not to disrupt the ongoing voting or risk civilian casualties, but they eventually retook the building.

AP, in a roundup of the day's events, says Taliban cut off the fingers of 11 people in Herat to punish them for voting. The Independent Electoral Commission estimated a turnout of about 60%, similar to the preliminary round. So far they have received 275 complaints of localized fraud.

The Defense Ministry says 18 soldiers were killed and 74 injured in election day violence, along with 39 civilians killed and 176 militants, with 88 civilians and 95 militants injured. The Defense Ministry, unlike the Interior Ministry, lives in a universe in which the insurgents fight back, and government forces and civilians, as well as militants, are killed and injured. Note also that this very high level of violence reflects innumerable incidents which were not specifically reported. Given the obviously incomplete information released regularly by the Interior Ministry, we undoubtedly have an impression which grossly underestimated the ongoing level of violence in the country.

A note on Iraq: It seem that other than McClatchy news service, I am approximately the only person to notice that just north of Mosul is a hydroelectric dam that supplies electricity to three provinces. The dam is protected by peshmerga, who unlike the Iraqi army are disciplined and effective fighters. Reports are conflicting about the current situation at the dam, but if it is cut off from outside support the peshmerga guards and workers might not be able to withstand a siege for long. A similar situation pertains with the Baiji oil refinery. Oil facilities have a separate security service, but again, how long the refinery could withstand a siege is questionable. 

Another problem with the dam is that it is built on gypsum, and requires continual infusions of concrete to plug leaks under its base. If this process were to be interrupted, the dam could collapse, destroying Mosul and Tikrit and flooding Baghdad to a depth of 15 feet. Seriously. Not a joke. Since the Iraqi army is useless, it seems that Kurdistan and the peshmerga will need to deal with both of these situations. At least I haven't heard of another plan.

And one more thing . . .  I meant to mention that by securing Kirkuk, the Kurds have attained nearly all of their territorial ambitions with the exception of Khanaqin. So guess what? As the peshmerga battle ISIS for control of that city, the Iraqi government hit a Kurdish convoy in the area with an airstrike, killing six soldiers. That about says it all; Maliki would rather leave Khanaqin to ISIL than see the Kurds take it. Iraq no longer exists. It's too late.  And if Maliki was hoping the Kurds would save his sorry ass in Nineveh, that no longer appears to be an option.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

War News for Saturday, June 14, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: There were reports of three explosions on the north side of the Afghan capital and one on the west side just before polls opened, but officials said there were no casualties.

#2: Abdul Wahed Pathan, deputy governor for the eastern province of Khost, told dpa news agency that five children were killed and six other people wounded when a rocket hit a house in Alisher district. Also in the east, AFP news agency reported that a rocket hit a polling station, killing two voters.

#3: At least one person was killed and two security personnel injured in twin blasts near Khanpur in Mansehra. The first blast occurred when an improvised explosive device (IED) fixed along the Shahrah-e-Karakoram went off while the security forces’ convoy was passing through Khanpur area. As a result of explosion two security personnel were injured while a vehicle was also damaged. Police said that the convoy was on its way to Gilgit from Rawalpindi when the blast occurred. Sources said the second blast took place at the same place while the rescue operation was in progress and the injured were being shifted to the hospital for treatment. A private vehicle was damaged in this attack and a passenger was killed.

Friday, June 13, 2014

War News for Friday, June 13, 2014

Afghans tighten security amid election threats

Iraqis Who Fled Mosul Say They Prefer Militants to Government

US transfers 12 detainees including 10 Pakistanis out of Afghan prison --  A French national, a Kuwaiti and 10 Pakistani detainees were sent back to their home countries last month from the Parwan prison, the defence official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Volunteers flock to defend Baghdad as insurgents seize more Iraqi territory --  as the group seized the towns of Saadiyah and Jalawla north of the capital.

Troops battled ISIS militants Friday in Diyala province

Reported security incidents
#1: A policeman was killed on Friday when unidentified militants attacked a police checkpost near Chakdara area of Lower Dir district.

#2: In a separate incident, at least two FC men were injured when an explosion occurred in Salarzai area of Bajaur tribal region.

#3: Afghan police backed by the army have killed 29 Taliban militants during a series of operations across the country over the past 24 hours, Interior Ministry said in a statement released here on Friday.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

War News for Thursday, June 12, 2014

Militants on March in Iraq Undo What U.S. Sought

Militants have Bagdad in their sights -- fighters have seized the town of Dhuluiyah, 90km from the capital on Thursday 

The militants were repulsed in heavy fighting when they tried to enter Samarra

Tikrit - the hometown of executed dictator Saddam Hussein - was the second provincial capital to fall on Wednesday

Britain cannot repeat the mistakes of Iraq by sending in troops to tackle ISIS militant uprising, Clegg warns

Reported security incidents
#1: The Pakistani government has condemned two strikes by American drones that have killed 13 suspected militants and marked the resumption of the CIA-led program after a nearly six-month break. Pakistani officials said missiles from suspected American drones slammed into militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal areas in two separate incidents on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

#2: Gunmen shot dead a pro-government tribal elder and his son in a restive Pakistani region near the Afghan border, officials said on Thursday. The incident took place in the area of Kitkoot, 32 kilometres (20 miles) northwest of Khar, the capital of Bajaur tribal region.

#3: About 35 Taliban militants have been killed in Afghan army operations within day, said the country's Defense Ministry on Thursday morning. Four army soldiers lost their lives in separate roadside bombings over the same period of time, according to the statement.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

War News for Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The DoD is reporting the death of Spc. Terry J. Hurne who was previously unreported by the military. He died from a non-combat related incident in Logar province, Afghanistan on Monday, June 9th.

Ohio, Illinois Soldiers Killed In Airstrike  -- Aaron Toppen, Justin Helton

Pasadena soldier among 5 killed in Afghanistan -- Army Staff Sgt. Scott

Pike County soldier killed by apparent friendly fire in Afghanistan -- Justin Helton

Sunni militants drive Iraqi army out of Mosul -- Sunni militants spilling over the border from Syria on Tuesday seized control of the northern city of Mosul

500,000 Iraqi civilians flee Mosul fighting, migration group says

Five U.S. troops killed in friendly fire airstrike in Afghanistan --  Ammunition dropped from a B-1B bomber appears to have killed the Americans, according to an official briefed on the preliminary investigation who was not allowed to speak on the record

Reported security incidents
#1-3: At least five security personnel were killed and two others injured today in separate attacks by militants in northwest Pakistan.

#1: The first incident took place at Sakhatkot Malakand district in Khyber Pakthunkhwa province where levy men (tribal police) Arshad Khan and Imran Khan were killed by unidentified gunmen at check post, police said.

#2: In second attack, three special police force constable were shot dead and two others injured when local leader Naimatullah Khan's car was ambushed by unknown gunmen in Swat district.

#3: Meanwhile, in Tank district, two suspected militants were killed when supporters of peace committee repulsed attack on the house of pro-government elder here this morning. A group of armed militants equipped with automatic weapons and hand grenades attacked the house of peace committee member, Ataullah Khan at Kot Azam that was repulsed by his supporters.

#4-6: Seven Afghan civilians were killed in separate bomb attacks on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

#4: In one attack two young women were killed and one woman wounded in a bomb attack carried out by the Taliban insurgents in the southern Helmand province early morning. "On Tuesday, the Taliban killed a policeman. Two sisters and the wife of the victim visited the graveyard for a special praying in Naw Zad district. The militants detonated a bomb, killing the two sisters and seriously wounding the wife of the victim," provincial police spokesman Abdul Ahad Chopan told Xinhua.

#5: In Dawlat Abad district of the northern Faryab province, four civilians were killed and two others wounded when an improvised bomb went off near a security checkpoint at around dawn, district governor Abdul Salam told Xinhua.

#6: Elsewhere, a male driver was killed and three women injured following a roadside bombing in Khas Uruzgan district of southern Uruzgan province.

#7: Eight Afghan deminers were killed and three others injured as they were attacked by Taliban in eastern province of Logar on Tuesday, the presidential palace said in a statement.

#8: Five Afghan army soldiers and 77 Taliban militants have been killed during a military operation in the country's southern province of Uruzgan, sources said on Wednesday.

DoD: Spc. Terry J. Hurne

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

War News for Tuesday, June 10, 2014

NATO is reporting the deaths of five ISAF soldiers from unreported reasons in an undisclosed location in southern Afghanistan on Monday, June 9th. A second NATO release reports the deaths occurred during an insurgent attack and “the possibility that fratricide may have been involved.” Various news reports that coalition aircraft attacked the soldiers location and “friendly fire” may have been the cause of death. One ANA soldier was also killed in the incident.

Reported security incidents
#1: Gunmen in Pakistan attacked a training facility near the Karachi airport on Tuesday, forcing a temporary suspension of flights and triggering a brief shootout with security forces, just days after the brazen Taliban assault on the city's busy airport shocked the country.

#2: At least 15 terrorists were killed in air strikes by Pakistan Military at suspected militants’ hideouts in Tirah Valley early of Tuesday, military sources have said. Military jets targeted nine hideouts in Tirah near Pak-Afghan border, in which at least 15 terrorists were killed, confirmed Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

#3: At least four people, including three soldiers, were killed and a dozen others got wounded in a suicide attack on an army check post in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan Monday, officials said.

#4: Both mine planters attempting to target a security forces convoy victimized of their own made explosives blast in western province of Herat, the ministry of interior said Monday. The mine makers were planning to hide the roadside ordnances in Rubat-e-Sangi district of the province, leaving own live claimed when the devices went off prematurely, said the ministry in a statement referring its website.

#5: Gunmen abducted about 35 Afghan university teachers on Tuesday after setting in fire a bus carrying them in eastern Ghazni province, a provincial official said.

#6: At least ten Taliban militants were killed following a NATO airstrike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

Monday, June 9, 2014

War News for Monday, June 09, 2014

Pakistan airport cleared of militants after attack kills 24

Taliban Claim Responsibility for Pakistan Airport Attack

Reported security incidents
#1: Three suicide bombers attacked a parking lot at a police base in eastern Afghanistan, killing a guard and setting 25 trucks ablaze, an Afghan provincial official said on Monday. The attack on the police base in eastern Behsud district took place late on Sunday, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the spokesperson for the provincial governor of Nangarhar province. A suicide car bomber first blew himself up by detonating his vehicle at the entrance to the parking lot. Two other attackers then stormed in, shooting at the security forces. The police killed both attackers but at least 25 fuel tankers and logistic trucks caught on fire and were burned during the fighting, Abdulzai said.

#2: At least 24 pilgrims were killed Sunday night after a group of attackers targeted their buses in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, the media reported.

#3: A paramilitary convoy was targeted in an explosion in Awaran on Monday, according to reports. At least two people were reported to have been killed while three others were injured. According to reports, a Frontier Corps convoy was targeted with a remote-controlled explosive device in Awaran, 350 kilometres away from Quetta.

#4: About nine Afghan civilians were wounded Monday in roadside bombing in western province of Farah, said the provincial government in a statement. The blast occurred at early morning when a minibus set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in Khaki Safed district in northern of provincial capital Farah city, 695 km west of national capital of Kabul.

#5: Three Afghan soldiers and 13 militants were killed in separate explosions in Afghanistan on Sunday, sources said.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, June 8, 2014

91 bodies recovered after flooding in Baghlan, with toll feared to be more than 100.

Defense Ministry says 5 militants killed in operations in past 24 hours, including 4 Pakistanis. No word on government casualties.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry continues to multiply the carnage, claiming 74 militants killed in past 24 hours, as usual with zero government or civilian casualties. The Taliban are obviously so utterly inept and incapable of defending themselves it is astonishing they have not long since surrendered.

Pakistani military fires 32 rockets into Afghanistan's Kunar province, continuing a recent pattern of repeated cross-border artillery and violations of Afghan airspace.

In an essay which will reward your attention, Omer Aziz in The Diplomat discusses the role of Pakistan's Directorate of Interservices Intelligence in sustaining the Afghan insurgency. In his view -- which is widely shared -- ISI is deeply involved in the Afghan insurgency with the long-range goal of control over an anarchic Afghan territory. That the U.S. treats Pakistan as an ally and supplies it with military aid is, under the circumstances, quite bizarre. A central quote:

As is well known, the Afghan Taliban were themselves a creation of the ISI, and a de facto proxy by the time they took over Kabul in 1996. In 1999, Benazir Bhutto’s minister of interior, Nasrullah Babar admitted it quite explicitly, pronouncing, “We created the Taliban.”

Today, the “Talban” are a hodgepodge of militant outfits, though the central leadership of the Afghan Taliban is thought to be in Quetta, Pakistan. For the ISI, there may be a chickens coming home to roost moment, as Pakistan faces a brutal insurgency within its own borders that has adopted the Taliban name but is in many ways far more rejectionist and hostile to the governing authorities. To give just one example, the Afghan Taliban support polio vaccination while the Pakistani Taliban vow to kill anyone offering such treatments. The ISI’s game of prolonging the post-9/11 insurgency in Afghanistan long enough for the tired American leviathan to pack up and go home – and for Pakistan to move in more forcefully – is the direct cause of this terrorist surge, which has taken over 50,000 lives. There are now three separate but interrelated insurgencies eating at the Pakistani state like overfed parasites: the sectarian Sunni jihad against Pakistan’s Shia population, the Balochi insurgency, and the gangsterism and religious extremism destroying Karachi. When exporting militancy is a state’s central foreign policy tool, it does not take long for the pawns to turn their guns on their masters.

. . . A report leaked in 2006 by the British Defense Ministry stated, “Indirectly Pakistan (through the ISI) has been supporting terrorism and extremism.” The report went so far as to link the ISI to the 2005 London bombings, in addition to the various insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2012 NATO study based on 27,000 interrogations of 4,000 captured Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters concluded that the ISI provided safe havens to the Taliban, monitored their movements, manipulated their fighters, and arrested those thought uncooperative.

Parents of recently released POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl receive death threats.

Meanwhile, Sgt. Bergdahl has told people treating him in Germany that he was tortured, beaten, and held in a cage after he attempted to escape.

The Afghan economy (such as it is) is collapsing, as the U.S. withdraws, parliament fails to pass an adequate regime of banking regulation, and investors flee.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

War News for Saturday, June 07, 2014

Afghanistan flash floods kill around 60

122 ‘missing persons’ traced in Balochistan in three years

After 2014‚ no more NATO medevacs for wounded Afghans

Reported security incidents
#1: Two soldiers were killed Saturday in separate bomb blasts in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border, the military said, a quoted by AFP. The explosions took place in Bajaur tribal district, one of the seven semi-autonomous tribal regions, where troops have been battling Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

#2: At least five national army soldiers were wounded when their ranger-type was struck by car-bomb in southern province of Kandahar, the provincial press office statement said Saturday. A town-ace type vehicle packed with explosives was slammed into an army vehicle in Maiwand district of the province, where at least five soldiers were reportedly injured, said the governor office.

#3: At least four Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were martyred following improvised explosive device (IED) attack during the past 24 hours. Gen. Azimi further added that 27 militants were also killed during military operations conducted by Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers in the past 24 hours.

DoD: Pfc. Matthew H. Walker

Friday, June 6, 2014

War News for Friday, June 06, 2014

Ex-CIA station chief be booked for murder: IHC

Reported security incidents
#1: Six Afghan border guards have been wounded in an attack on the northern village of Marchak, along the border with Turkmenistan. The chief of security in the Afghan district, Daulat Mawin, said the attack started when militants launched an assault on the village, which is located in Afghanistan's Baghdis Province.

#2: Afghan presidential front-runner, Abdullah Abdullah, has survived a bomb attack in Kabul. Speaking on national television, Mr Abdullah said two explosions struck his convoy as it was leaving a campaign event in the city. A police spokesman told the BBC that two civilians had been killed in the attack and 16 injured.

#3: Fresh clashes between banned militant outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and a breakaway faction killed at least seven militants in the Pakistan’s restive northwest on Friday, officials have said. The fighting erupted in the Wacha Mela area 65 kilometres (40 miles) west of Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan tribal district.

#4: In another incident of target killing, a policeman lost his life when unknown armed culprits opened fire at Court Road in Hyderabad, Geo News reported on Friday. According to police, two policemen named Riaz Awan and Muhammad Ejaz were on their way to Makki Shah police station when unidentified gunmen opened fire on them at Court Road near SSP office.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

War News for Thursday, June 05, 2014

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from an insurgent attack in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, June 5th.

Reported security incidents
#1: Mohammad Qasim, police chief for the Waghaz district in the southern Gazni province, had gone with other officers to remove a roadside bomb planted by Taliban insurgents, district governor Abdul Azim Farooqi said. When they removed the bomb another mine concealed under it exploded, killing Qasim and two other officers. Another policeman was wounded in the blast.

#2: In a separate incident, gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a car carrying Afghan army personnel in the western city of Herat, killing two officers and wounding three others, said Mohammad Nadir Fahimi, the deputy provincial police chief. He said police were searching for the assailants.

#3: At least seven Pakistani soldiers have been killed and as many injured in two cross-border attacks by Taliban militants on military outposts on the border with Afghanistan. 

#4: At least three civilians were killed and 12 others wounded when a bomb went off in Afghanistan Wednesday, sources said. The explosion occurred in Maimana city, the provincial capital of Faryab province, Wednesday morning.

#5: Two senior army officers and three civilians were killed Wednesday when a suicide bomber ambushed a vehicle carrying security forces near the Pakistani capital, according to a military spokesman. In the attack in Rawalpindi, next to the capital, Islamabad, the bomber hurled himself at a double-cabin pickup near a railway intersection, killing two lieutenant colonels in the Pakistani army along with the three civilians.

#6: According to the report Balochistan ‘s provincial interior minister Sarfaraz Bugti told the media a crossfire between the security personnel and terrorists broke out during a cleanup operation in Darijan area of Dera Bugti. One Frontier Corps (FC) personnel was martyred in the clash while at least 30 terrorists were killed by the forces.

#7: At least four Afghan national army (ANA) soldiers were martyred following an attack in northeastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.

#8: At least one person was killed and seven others were injured following an explosion in capital Kabul early Thursday morning. According to security officials, the incident took place in Pul-e-Charkhi area of Kabul city after a magnetic bomb planted in a police vehicle went off. The officials further added that a number of police officers were also among those injured following the blast.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

War News for Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Suspected Taliban fighters attacked Pakistani outposts from positions on the Afghan side of the border, killing four soldiers, Pakistani military officials said on Wednesday. One military source said four soldiers were also wounded. The assault, which took place in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal region, comes after Afghan officials said an air strike by Pakistani forces killed four civilians on Saturday.

#2: A suspected suicide bomber attacked a Pakistani security forces vehicle in Rawalpindi, home to Pakistan's army headquarters, on Wednesday, killing five people including two officers, a military source said. The attack in Rawalpindi, next to the capital, Islamabad, came days after the Pakistani Taliban split into two groups, limiting the government's chances of finding a negotiated settlement to end the insurgency.

#3: At least three civilians were killed and 12 others wounded when a bomb went off in Afghanistan Wednesday, sources said. The explosion occurred in Maimana city, the provincial capital of Faryab province, Wednesday morning.

#4: A provincial official says four Afghan police officers were killed and another one was wounded when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the country's south. Omer Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor of Helmand province, said on Wednesday that the incident occurred on Tuesday evening while the policemen were on their way back from an operation in Sangin district.

#5: Afghan security forces during cleanup operations in northern Baghlan province which begun Tuesday have killed 15 militants so far, an army officer Ghulam Farooq Ahmadi said Wednesday. "We launched cleanup campaigns in Baghlan-e-Markazi district of Baghlan province Tuesday and so far 15 rebels have been killed and 20 others injured," Ahmadi told the media. One security personnel has been killed and two others injured during the operations, he said.

#6: At least two Afghan national army soldiers were martyred following an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion. The officials did not disclose further information regarding the exact location of the incident where the two Afghan soldiers martyred.

DoD: Capt. Jason B. Jones

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

War News for Tuesday, June 01, 2014

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from an insurgent attack in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, June 2nd.

Bodies of seven 'Taliban' found in Karachi

US Shuts Afghan Transit Base in Kyrgyzstan

Profiles of senior Taliban leaders freed in swap for US soldier

Statement from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Reported security incidents
#1: At least seven people were killed and another seven injured after a Parachinar-bound passenger van hit an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Shagni area of Kurram Agency on Tuesday morning.

#2: An Indian aid worker was Monday abducted by unidentified gunmen in Afghanistan’s Herat province, local officials and India’s foreign ministry said.

#3: Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a security patrol in a crowded Islamabad market on Tuesday injuring one police commando, according to officials, in a rare attack in Pakistan's capital.

#4: The Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs on Tuesday said the country's security forces have killed 34 Taliban militants in a series of military operations since early Monday.

#5: According to local authorities in eastern Kunar province, at least 120 more rockets were fired in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan in the latest wave of cross-border shelling. The officials further added that the rockets landed in Shegal and Dangam districts on Tuesday morning.