The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Thursday, 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.