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 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.