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

Monday, September 15, 2014

War News for Monday, September 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, September 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

War News for Saturday, September 13, 2014

Afghan election commission delays vote results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

War News for Friday, September 12, 2014

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

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

War News for Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reported security incidents
#1: Militants blew up a railway track on Thursday morning in Balochistan' s Bolan district, officials told Dawn. A Levies official who requested anonymity said militants had planted explosive material close to the railway track in Bolan district’s Bala Nari area.

#2: At least 65 terrorists were killed and three hideouts destroyed during two separate airstrikes in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) on Wednesday. According to security officials, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets carried out precision strikes in Shawwal and Dattakhel areas after getting credible intelligence about the presence of militants.

#3: A mine targeted a police van in Kunduz city at 11:45 a.m. local time Thursday, leaving two persons including a police injured," police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Husaini told reporters.

#4: Moreover, three persons including a local official sustained injuries as a roadside bomb struck a civilian car in the southern Uruzgan province on Thursday.

#5: Eight armed Taliban were killed and six others wounded in clashes between Taliban and local police forces in Marwara district, Kunar province last night. General Abdul Habib Syeedkhail police chief of Kunar said BNA, the incident occurred in Bache region, Marwara district, while a group of armed Taliban attacked on local police post, in which eight armed Taliban lost their lives and six others wounded. According to Syeedkhail, after the incident, armed Taliban set on fire seven houses belonged to local police and also abducted 12 tribal elders from the site.

#6: Twenty rockets were launched by Pakistani forces from other side of Durand line on several parts of Kunar province last night.

#7: The Uruzgan Hajj and Religious Affairs Directorate Chief, Mohammadullah Abdali was injured following an explosion on Thursday morning. According to local government officials, the incident took place after an explosive device planted in the vehicle of Abdali went off while he was on his way towards his office.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

War News for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thousands flee as Pakistan floods spread to plains

Violence Erupts in Yemen Capital After Weeks of Rallies

Reported security incidents
#1: Afghan officials say 14 people, including civilians, have been killed in a U.S. airstrike in eastern Afghanistan. Abdul Ghani Musamem, a spokesman for the governor of Kunar province, says 14 people died in the airstrike in Narang district. Musamem says 13 others were wounded in the strike on Tuesday.

#2: Pakistan's military says its warplanes struck three hideouts at a Taliban stronghold near the Afghan border, killing 35 militants. Officials say the air strikes early Wednesday targeted the North Waziristan tribal region

#3: Gunmen have killed a member of the tribal police guarding a polio vaccination team in Pakistan's northwest in the latest attack on health workers trying to combat the disease. Officials said the attack took place on September 10 in Damadola area of Bajaur, a tribal area on the border with Afghanistan where polio is a serious problem.

#4: At least six militants were killed in the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan Agency on Tuesday. According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), a soldier of the Pakistan Army also embraced martyrdom in fight against militants in Dattakhel during clearance operation. A civilian logistics staff member was also killed in the soldiers' shootout with terrorists when he was providing logistics supplies to the fighting soldiers.

#5: Units of police backed by the army have rooted out militants in Chardara district of the northern Kunduz province after month-long cleanup operations, provincial police chief Ghulam Mustafa Mohsini said Wednesday.

#6: Afghan police backed by the army units have killed 50 Taliban militants during series of operations across the country over the past 24 hours, Ministry of Interior said in a statement released here on Wednesday.

#7: Two traffic police were wounded in Ghazni province yesterday. The traffic police while moving toward their mission have been targeted by firing of an insurgent who riding motorcycle in Deh Khuda region, Ghazni city yesterday.

#8: Three mine planters were killed, as a result of their own mine explosion in east of the country yesterday.

#9: National Directorate of Security (NDS) officers were martyred following an attack by Taliban militants in western Badghis province. Local government officials said the incident took place on Tuesday after a group of Taliban militants ambushed a convoy of the NDS operatives in Karkh district.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

War News for Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nearly half million people affected in Pakistan floods

Afghan Candidate Vows to Reject Disputed Vote

Reported security incidents
#1: Taliban militants attacked a Karachi naval dockyard in a weekend raid which left a Pakistani officer and two insurgents dead, officials said on Tuesday. An officer and six sailors were also wounded in the attack early Saturday on the high security facility, a navy spokesman said, adding that four attackers had been captured alive.

#2: Pakistan’s military said on Monday it had killed 10 militants and destroyed an explosives cache in ongoing airstrikes as part of a major offensive against the Taliban in the northwest. “Army aviation gunship helicopters struck an area ahead of Boya Degan in North Waziristan. In a precise strike on a terrorist hideout, gunship helicopters destroyed one explosive dump and five vehicles and killed 10 terrorists,” the military said in a statement. The conflict zone is off-limits to journalists, so there is no way to independently verify the number and identity of those killed.

#3: Five Afghan police were killed in a clash followed by a blast in eastern province of Laghman on Tuesday, sources said. "Taliban militants launched an attack on Afghan Local Police ( ALP) checkpoint in Badpakh district. The ALP responded the attack, killing several militants," the provincial government said in a statement. Two ALP cops were also killed and one police was wounded in the clash. The statement said, adding three other ALP members were killed when their vehicle set off a roadside bomb at the same area.

#4: Earlier on the day, six civilians were wounded in a bomb attack in Mazar-i-Sharif city, the capital of northern Balkh province, 305 km north of Kabul.

#5-6: Six militants were killed and six others wounded in two separate incidents in Afghanistan on Tuesday morning, authorities said.

#5: In one incident, three militants were killed and two others wounded when a NATO drone fired a missile on a compound in Achin district of eastern Nangarhar province, the provincial police spokesman Hzrat Husain Mashriqiwal told Xinhua.

#6: In neighboring Paktika province, three militants were killed and four others wounded when a roadside bomb they were planting along a road in Khir Kot district went off prematurely at around 6: 00 a.m. in the morning, according to district governor Raz Mohammad Mukhlis.

#7: a suicide attack Police chief of Raghistan district, Kandahar province along with two other policemen were martyred last night. Zia Durani spokesman of police chief in the province told BNA, the attack occurred while a suicide assailant entered to Raghistan security command and exploded himself.

#8: At least three militants were killed following a drone strike by NATO-led coalition security forces in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.