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, June 30, 2008

War News for Monday, June 30, 2008

CANOE News is reporting the deaths of three Coalition soldiers in a vehicle rollover in the Arghandab valley, Kandahar province, Afghanistan on Sunday, June 29th. two Afghan soldiers, two militants and a government worker also died in the accident.



June 28 airpower summary:

Military official: Iran digging 320,000 graves for invaders:

CNN: Report: U.S. 'preparing the battlefield' in Iran: The New Yorker:

The Bush administration has launched a "significant escalation" of covert operations in Iran, sending U.S. commandos to spy on the country's nuclear facilities and undermine the Islamic republic's government, journalist Seymour Hersh said Sunday.

Hersh told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" that Congress has authorized up to $400 million to fund the secret campaign, which involves U.S. special operations troops and Iranian dissidents.

"They believe that their mission is to make sure that before they get out of office next year, either Iran is attacked or it stops its weapons program," Hersh said.

The new article, "Preparing the Battlefield," is the latest in a series of articles accusing the Bush administration of preparing for war with Iran.


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: "Judge Ghanim Abdullah al-Shimmary, his wife and daughter were wounded when a bomb detonated inside his house in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Bunoog," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Shimmary is working in the court of the Sadr City neighborhood, the Shiite stronghold of Mahdi Army militia loyal to the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the source said. All the wounded, including Shimmary, were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment, the source said. All the wounded, including Shimmary, were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment, the source said.

#2: Another bomb attack occurred when a roadside bomb detonated outside the house of Judge Ali al-Allaf, near the Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, the source added. Allaf escaped unhurt, while the blast caused minor damages to his house, he said.

Also in eastern Baghdad, a sticky IED was emplaced inside Judge Ali al-Allaq's vehicle, wounding him," the source added.

#3: A third bomb blast occurred near the house of Judge Alla Hussein Salih in Baghdad's southern neighborhood of Ghadeer, causing damages to his house and several nearby civilian cars, he added.

Five Iraqi appeals court judges escaped assassination attempts when bombs exploded outside their homes in eastern Baghdad, police and a judicial official said.

#4: U.S. forces killed six suspected al Qaeda militants and detained 22 others during operations in different parts of Iraq on Sunday and Monday, the U.S. military said.

#5: Gunmen raided the house of an employee in the ministers council in Palestine Street in east Baghdad around 3:00 a.m. stealing his car, seven cell phones, a pistol, work badge and an amount of money. Police found the car later in Shaab neighborhood.

#6: Around 7:15 a.m. an IED exploded inside a car in which an unidentified body was left. The explosion took place in Adhemiyah neighborhood in east Baghdad.


Mahaweel:
#1: Gunmen wounded a man when they opened fire on him in Mahaweel, 60 km (35 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


Kirkuk:
#1: Two Iraqi soldiers were killed in an armed attack by unidentified gunmen on their patrol in western Mosul on Monday, police said. "The gunmen opened fire at the Iraqi army patrol while passing through the area of al-Islah al-Ziraaie, western Mosul, killing two patrol men," the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq on customary condition of anonymity.

#2: The body of an Iraqi civilian was found with gunshot wounds in the head on Sunday in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#3: The body of an Iraqi soldier was found with gunshot in Mosul, police said.

#4: The same source said that an explosive charge went off targeting an Iraqi army vehicle patrol in 17 Tamouz region in Mosul, wounding three army soldiers.



Afghanistan:
#1: A Coalition helicopter made a hard landing in Paktya province today, due to mechanical issues. No Coalition service members were killed. There were no reports of enemy fire.

#2: A powerful explosion destroyed a militant compound and killed up to eight people Monday in a volatile tribal region where Pakistan security forces are waging an offensive against pro-Taliban militants, residents said. A militant spokesman claimed it was a missile strike launched from neighboring Afghanistan where U.S. and NATO forces are based, but there was no official confirmation of such an attack. Residents said the blast in Khyber tribal agency hit a compound owned by a supporter of Haji Namdar, a local militant leader whose Vice and Virtue Movement is suspected of cross-border assaults. Villager Nawaz Khan Afridi said he saw eight bodies. The political administration of the Khyber tribal area said at least five people were killed and three were injured during an explosion, but that its security forces had not fired on the damaged building.

#3: Residents reported hearing two explosions Monday morning in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, which is home to the army's headquarters, police said. But military officials told CNN that a thorough check of the city and its military installments has revealed nothing out of the ordinary. The sounds, the officials said, may have resulted from something else.

#4: Authorities in pakistan have recovered the bodies of eight kidnapped men in Pakistan's Kurram tribal district bordering Afghanistan.Officials of the local administration found the men, all shot dead, dumped on the outskirts of Mandori village, some 75 km south-east of the district's main town of Parachinar.Vigilantes routinely abduct and execute people in the tribal region.

#5: U.S.-led troops backed by warplanes battled militants in southwestern Afghanistan, killing 28 rebels including several Taliban leaders, an Afghan official said Monday. The U.S.-led coalition said its troops came under fire Sunday in the Khash Rod district of Nimroz province as they searched compounds for a Taliban leader suspected of involvement in suicide attacks. The troops killed "multiple militant groups" with small-arms fire, and airstrikes killed two more groups of attackers, the coalition said. There were no coalition casualties, it said. While the coalition said only that "several" militants died, Nimroz Gov. Ghulam Dastagir Azad said 28 rebels were killed. He said some of the victims were torn apart in the late-night bombing, making the body count difficult. Azad said local officials had told him that four civilians also died.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

News of the Day for Sunday, June 29, 2008

Women march during a rally demanding the release of the U.S.-backed Neighbourhood Patrol's leader and its five members who were arrested by the Iraqi army in northern Baghdad's Adhamiya district June 28, 2008. An Iraqi army officer said the army arrested five members of the Neighbourhood Patrol and their leader on Thursday in connection to the kidnapping of five civilians in Adhamiya.
REUTERS/Omar Obeidi (IRAQ) Another of those very interesting incidents that only seems to be reported in a photo caption. The policy of arming and paying Sunni Arab militias has already produced several conflicts between the Sahwa Councils and Iraqi government forces, but we hear almost nothing about this. See the story by LA Times Ned Parker, below. -- C



Reported Security Incidents

Baghdad

Basra intelligence chief Brig. Abdul-Jabbar Munshid assassinated in drive-by shooting while on vacation in Baghdad. The attackers escaped.

A bomb attached to a car belonging to the Ministry of Higher Education is discovered and defused. No indication as to who the individual target was, if any.

Near Baquba

Three farmers are wounded by gunmen in al-Khalis, north of Baquba. (These sorts of unexplained attacks on rural people happen with some frequency. Explanations could include sectarian or tribal feuds, or extortion rackets. -- C

IED wounds the driver of a pickup truck.

Female suicide bomber attacks Sahwa council position, injuring three.

al-Udaim (north of Baquba

Mortar attack kills 2 women and a child. (This is buried in an AP roundup story but it's the only place I found it.)

Dhuluiya, Salah ad-Din Province

Car bomb kills 7 police. This account says the officers were investigating an abandoned vehicle, but Reuters describes this as a suicide car bomb attack, says there were 3 injured in addition to the dead. AP says the dead were 6 police and a security volunteer, and that the vehicle exploded when police entered it to search it.

Kirkuk

Six civilians injured by car bomb targeting the city's "emergency police chief." Reuters says the bomb targeted a police patrol, which is not necessarily a contradiction.

Mosul

Off-duty policeman is killed outside his house.

Other News of the Day

U.S. raid Friday in Janaja, near Karbala, kills a relative and political ally of Nouri al-Maliki, leading to a diplomatic crisis. This is a very mysterious business which the U.S. has not commented on. It occurred in an area which has supposedly been under control of Iraqi security since last October, and obviously does not help in efforts to complete the Status of Forces Agreement. Here is an excerpt from the McClatchy report:

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Senior Iraqi government officials said Saturday that a U. S. Special Forces counterterrorism unit conducted the raid that killed a relative of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki, touching off a high-stakes diplomatic crisis between the United States and Iraq.

U. S. military officials in Baghdad had no comment for the second day in a row, an unusual position for a command that typically releases information on combat operations within 24 hours.

The raid occurred at dawn Friday in the town of Janaja near al-Maliki’s birthplace in the southern, mostly Shiite Muslim province of Karbala. Ali Abdulhussein Razak al-Maliki, who was killed in the raid, was related to the prime minister and had close ties to his personal security detail, according to authorities in Karbala.

The incident puts an added strain on U. S.- Iraqi negotiations to draft a Status of Forces Agreement, a long-term security pact that will govern the conduct of U. S. forces in Iraq. Members of the Iraqi government and security forces said the raid only deepened their reluctance to sign any agreement that did not leave Iraqis with the biggest say on when and how combat operations are conducted.

The U. S. military handed Iraqi forces control of Karbala security in October 2007. By the end of 2007, the U. S. military had transferred nine of the country’s 18 provinces to Iraqi control.

“We are afraid now of signing the long-term pact between Iraq and America because of such unjustified violations by the troops. Handing over security in provinces doesn’t mean anything to the American troops,” said Mohamed Hussein al-Musawi, a senior Najaf-based member of the prime minister’s Dawa Party. “We condemn these barbaric actions not only when they target a relative of al-Maliki’s, but when any Iraqi is targeted in the same way.”

Outrage over the mysterious operation has spread to the highest levels of the Iraqi government, which is demanding an explanation for how such a raid occurred in a province ostensibly under full Iraqi command.


U.S. Senate approves $165.4 billion in spending to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through mid 2009, without conditions. The vote was 92-6. And you thought there was an opposition party controlling Congress.

An unclassified U.S. Army history of the early stages of the occupation, to be released Monday, is apparently highly critical of planning for the post-invasion phase. (The gist of the observations does not appear to be new.) Excerpt:

The study focuses on the 18 months that followed President George W. Bush's May 2003 announcement that major combat operations in Iraq were over.

It was a period when the army took on unanticipated occupation duties and was forced to develop new intelligence-gathering techniques, armor its Humvees, revise its tactics and, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, review its detention practices.

A significant problem, the study says, was the lack of detailed plans before the war for the postwar phase of the conflict, a deficiency that reflected the general optimism in the White House and in the Pentagon, led by the secretary of defense at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, about Iraq's future, and an assumption that civilian agencies would assume much of the burden.

"I can remember asking the question during our war gaming and the development of our plan, 'O.K., we are in Baghdad, what next?' No real good answers came forth," Colonel Thomas Torrance, the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division's artillery, told army historians.


Ned Parker of the LA Times uses the story of a single individual to illustrate the complexities and pitfalls of the "Sons of Iraq" policy. Remember when Joe Lieberman and the gang were calling it utterly outrageous that anybody might consider amnesty for people who had attacked U.S. troops? Now we've given them weapons and a salary, and Joe thinks that's just dandy. Excerpt:

Abu Abed's flight into exile shines a light on a violent power struggle pitting upstart leaders like him against Iraq's entrenched Sunni political elite and its Shiite-dominated government. The frictions could easily shatter the Sons of Iraq -- and open the door to Al Qaeda in Iraq's resurgence.

Perhaps even more significantly, the charges against him belie the notion of an Iraqi government moving toward reconciliation among its Sunni and Shiite populations. . . .

Abu Abed doesn't reveal his identity to people in Amman. He tells them he sells cars. His skin is grayer and his cheeks, once plump, are noticeably gaunt. The family has already moved once, after his 8-year-old son was handed a threatening letter at school.

He worries that his fate will serve as a warning to others who gambled their lives fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. "Al Qaeda will come back and the government and Iraqi army will be helpless to defeat them. People will have lost their faith in the government because of the way they treated me and others."


Note entirely off-topic: Sy Hersh blows the whistle on the secret campaign to destabilize Iran. Excerpt:

Under federal law, a Presidential Finding, which is highly classified, must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets under way and, at a minimum, must be made known to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate and to the ranking members of their respective intelligence committees—the so-called Gang of Eight. Money for the operation can then be reprogrammed from previous appropriations, as needed, by the relevant congressional committees, which also can be briefed.

“The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.” The Finding provided for a whole new range of activities in southern Iran and in the areas, in the east, where Baluchi political opposition is strong, he said.

Although some legislators were troubled by aspects of the Finding, and “there was a significant amount of high-level discussion” about it, according to the source familiar with it, the funding for the escalation was approved. In other words, some members of the Democratic leadership—Congress has been under Democratic control since the 2006 elections—were willing, in secret, to go along with the Administration in expanding covert activities directed at Iran, while the Party’s presumptive candidate for President, Barack Obama, has said that he favors direct talks and diplomacy.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

War News for Saturday, June 28, 2008

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier in a vehicle rollover in the central area Helmand province, Afghanistan on Friday, June 27th. Two other soldiers were wounded in the accident.

CJTF-101 (happy news) is reporting the death of a coalition soldier during a reconnaissance patrol in the Gulistan District, Farah province, Afghanistan on Thursday, June 26th. Five other soldiers and two Afghani soldiers were wounded in the attack.

The Khaleej Times (AFP) is reporting the death of an Azerbaijani soldier in an undisclosed incident while carrying out his duties in Iraq. No other details were released.


Officials: 30K Troops Heading To Iraq In '09 (unconfirmed)


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: The flight crew of a C-130 Hercules executed an emergency landing in a barren field northeast of Baghdad International Airport at about 1:45 p.m. local time June 27. All crewmembers and passengers are accounted for, and have been transported to nearby Sather Air Base, Iraq, for evaluation and any treatment, as required. Damage to the aircraft has not been determined. There is no indication of any hostile/enemy fire in this incident. Soldiers of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team responded to the location with a quick-reaction force to maintain a security perimeter.

#2: U.S. and Iraqi forces killed three militants, including an al Qaeda cell leader, and captured a dozen suspected militants in various operations in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

#3: Around 4 p.m. gunmen threw a hand grenade targeting civilians in Beirut Square injuring two civilians.

#4: Police found three dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Fedheliyah, one in Palestine Street, one in Saidiyah.Police found three dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Fedheliyah, one in Palestine Street, one in Saidiyah.


Samarra:
#1: #3: Police raiding a suspected al Qaeda hide-out found a secret prison and the bodies of seven Iraqis bearing gunshot wounds and torture marks, Iraqi police said on Saturday. Police said they believed the six men and one woman, only two of whom have so far been identified, had been kidnapped. There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military. Police arrested 11 suspected al Qaeda members in the raid on a house in Benat al-Hassan, on the outskirts of Samarra, early on Saturday, said Captain Muthana Shakir, commander of Iraq's Rapid Intervention Force in Samarra, 100 km (62 miles) north of Baghdad. No prisoners were found alive at the house. There were no clashes during the raid. Police found all suspects sleeping when they stormed the building.


Dour:
#1: Around 2:30 p.m. on Friday, a bomb attached to the car Shwaish Ahmed, an explosive expert in Salahuddin province police, exploded in Al Dour town, about 15 miles south of Tikrit, as he was visiting relatives. Ahmed survived and the explosion caused damages to the nearby houses.


Al Tharthar:
#1: Police found 25 decomposed bodies in Al Tharthar area south of Samarra today. Police said the bodies were of civilians


Kirkuk:
#1: The Iraqi police found the body of a civilian bearing gunshot wounds in central Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.


Mosul:
#1: Two policemen on Saturday were wounded when a roadside bombing targeted their patrol, western Mosul, said a source from Ninewa police. "A roadside bombing targeted an Iraqi police patrol at al-Yarmook neighborhood, western Mosul" the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq



Afghanistan:
#1: Pakistani forces bombarded suspected militant hide-outs with mortar shells Saturday as the government launched a major offensive against Taliban fighters threatening the main city in the country's volatile northwest, officials said. The government had said it preferred to try to defuse tension with the groups through negotiations, but with threats to the city of Peshawar growing in recent weeks, the military decided to take action. Khyber also is a key route for U.S. military supplies into neighboring Afghanistan. A round-the-clock curfew was imposed in the Bara area bordering Peshawar, and heavy contingents of troops were deployed. By Saturday afternoon, the paramilitary Frontier Corps began shelling suspected militant hide-outs in the mountains in Khyber, said local official Muhammad Siddiq Khan.

#2: Unknown armed men shot dead a tribal elder in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, police said Saturday. "Two armed men riding a motorbike opened fire on Hajji Abdul Bari, an influential chieftain in Gereshk district, on Friday, and killed him on the spot," police chief of Helmand province Mohammad Hussain Andiwal told Xinhua.

#3: Six security guards were killed and three injured when gunmen attacked their posts near a mine in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, a local official said Saturday. The guards were from a private Afghan security company and were hired by the government to secure a chromate mine in the province's Spera district, provincial spokesman Khaibar Pashtun said. "Six guards were killed and three others were injured" late on Friday, Pashtun said. "We believe the killers were chromate smugglers."

#4: A military vehicle of the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan was blown up in the central Maidan Wardak province Saturday. The press office of the coalition troops in Bagram confirmed to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that one of their convoys was hit by a roadside bomb in Maidan Wardak, but said the troops were not injured. Witnesses said the vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb Saturday morning on the Kabul-Kandahar highway in Saidabad district. The district chief of Saidabad, Fazl Rahman Muslim, said three civilians - two men and a woman - travelling in a car close to the convoy were wounded in the blast

#5: Elsewhere, the Taleban claimed to downed a US helicopter in the south-eastern Paktia province, with the coalition forces giving a different version of the incident. Mujahid told dpa by phone that a US Chinook hecopter was brought down by machine-gun fire in Wazi Zadran district near a US military base on Saturday morning, killing all aboard. However, coalition troops said in a statement that their helicopter made an emergency landing because of a technical problem, not hostile firing. "A coalition helicopter made a hard landing in Paktya province today, due to mechanical issues. No coalition service members were killed. There were no reports of enemy fire," said the statement from Bagram.

Friday, June 27, 2008

War News for Friday, June 27, 2008

Baghdad:
#1: Iraq's Higher Judicial Council says a senior judge has been assassinated while he was headed home in Baghdad. Spokesman Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar says masked drive-by shooters shot and killed Judge Kamil al-Showaili Thursday afternoon on eastern Baghdad's Canal Highway. Bayrkdar says al-Showaili was the head of one of Baghdad's two appeals courts. The spokesman has not identified any particular group as responsible for the slaying.


Diyala Prv:
#1: A roadside bomb exploded killing one shepherd, injuring two others in the area between Khanaqeen and Sharban to the northeast of Baquba Thursday evening.


Jurf al-Sakhar:
#1: Gunmen fired at a police checkpoint, wounding a policeman in Jurf al-Sakhar, 60 km (38 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


Mahaweel:
#1: Iraqi police found the body of an Iraqi citizen in Mahaweel, 60 km (38 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


Shirqat:
#1: A home-made bomb planted in the road killed two members of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol and wounded three others in Shirqat city, 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, police captain Muhammad Jamil said.


Al Anbar Prv:
#1: The handover of security control in Iraq's Anbar province to Iraqi forces has been put on hold, the U.S. military said on Friday, blaming a sandstorm forecast to hit the region. The sandstorm could have prevented officials flying to Anbar for Saturday's handover ceremony, the U.S. military said, explaining the delay.



Afghanistan:
#1: Militants beheaded one man and shot the other after telling the crowd in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal district that the pair had passed information to US forces in Afghanistan that led to a deadly missile strike in May. An AFP correspondent who witnessed the executions said more than 5,000 people had gathered at a patch of open ground 10 kilometres (six miles) west of Khar, the main town in Bajaur, to watch. ‘There was a public execution by militants of two people who were kidnapped two days ago by Taleban on spying charges,’ a local security official told AFP.

#2: After the executions the Taleban started firing in the air in jubilation, but when some shots were fired from within the crowd it sparked a brief gunbattle, witnesses said. ‘Firing broke out and in this incident two people were killed -- one died on the spot and one later on his way to hospital,’ local tribal police chief FazAl e-Rabi told AFP.

#3: NATO said its forces also fired back at militants who launched rockets at two of its bases in neighboring Kunar province Friday.Afghan officials said one girl was killed and several other civilians injured by rockets that hit the homes.



Craig Lundberg, 22, was a lance corporal in the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster when he was blinded during a rooftop battle with insurgents in Basra in March last year. A rocket-propelled grenade exploded when it hit the body armour on his chest, leaving him with arm and facial injuries. ON March 23, 2007, Lance Corporal Lundberg was commanding a section of the second Lancs battle group reconnaissance platoon during Operation Python in Al Qurnah, south southern Iraq. The platoon was one of three strike groups tasked to arrest a number of armed insurgents in the town. Blinded by fragmentation in both eyes and bleeding profusely from his left arm, LCpl Lundberg fought to remain conscious.

Marcus Kuboy, 30, He was an infantry medic when a bomb ejected him from his truck more than a year ago. The explosive killed the driver, who was sitting directly in front of Kuboy. Days later he came to in a hospital in Germany.

Staff Sergeant Travis Strong, 30, was injured during his second tour of duty in Iraq when the vehicle he commanded was hit with a device similar to an improvised explosive device. Strong's legs were amputated after the accident.

Evan Morgan was serving in Iraq when he was injured Jan. 1, 2005. He lost both his legs and an eye in the attack. He spent more than 15 months in the hospital.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

War News for Thursday, June 26, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier in a roadside bombing in eastern Baghdad. on Wednesday, June 25th. No other details were released.

The Santa Barbara News-Press is reporting the deaths of three U.S.-led coalition soldiers from an attack in Lagar Province on Thursday, June 26th. An Afghan interpreter was also killed in the attack.

The Santa Barbara News-Press is reporting the deaths of three Marines from a suicide bomb attack in Karmah, Al Anbar province, Iraq on Thursday, June 26th. Two Iraqi interpreters and at least 20 Iraqis were also killed in the attack.


June 24 airpower summary:

Military facing $100 billion in equipment repairs


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: A car bomb also killed three people and wounded seven in Baghdad's Karradah district, witnesses and police said.

#2: update American soldiers fatally shot three Iraqi bank employees as their car passed a convoy near Baghdad International Airport, according to an Interior Ministry official and Yarmouk Hospital, where the bodies were brought. The attack was one of two bloody episodes Wednesday in which the American military and Iraqi officials offered sharply different accounts of what had happened.Iraqi authorities said at least eight civilians had been killed by American soldiers. American military officials said that in each case they opened fire after coming under attack, and that they were unaware of any civilian deaths. Officials at the hospital identified the bodies of the victims as those of Hafed Abdul Mahdi, director of the bank at the airport, and Surur Shadid Ahmed and Maha Adnan Yunis, women who worked at the bank.

#2: A number of students were wounded on Thursday in a shooting that took place in a tests center in northern Baghdad, eyewitnesses said."A number of students protested against bad services when Education Minister Khudier al-Khuzaaei paid a visit to their tests center in Sabaa Abkar region in northern Baghdad, the matter that made the ministry's bodyguards to start shooting, wounding five students," Qassem Hassan, a student, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. "The test was cancelled after the intense shooting, which forced the students to leave the tests room," Hassan explained, noting that one of the wounded students is in critical condition.


Diyala Prv:
Muqdadiya:
#1: Four shepherds were wounded in a bomb blast in Muqdadiya on Thursday. "An explosive device was detonated in the main street in Shirween region in Muqdadiya, northeast of Baaquba, wounding three shepherds," a police source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. He did not give further details.


Karbala:
#1: South of Baghdad, a bomb exploded on a minibus near one of the most revered Shiite shrines in the holy city of Karbala. At least two people including a young boy were killed, and 14 were wounded, police said.


Shirqat:
#1: The two extremists were killed in Sharqat, about 135 miles north of Baghdad, after they refused to surrender to U.S. troops who had surrounded the building where the pair had taken refuge, the U.S. said in a statement. One of the dead was identified as a militant cell leader who was the target of the raid, the U.S. said. Three people were taken into custody.


Tikrit:
#1: Hours earlier, an American helicopter fired missiles into a home near Tikrit, killing a family of five, local officials and a relative said. The episode began when Afar Ahmed Zidan thought he heard thieves prowling near his home, said a cousin, Hussain al-Azawi. Zidan fired at them, al-Azawi said.


Kirkuk:
#1: An Iraqi army soldier was killed late Wednesday by unknown gunman in south of Kirkuk, and security forces managed to arrest the killer, an Iraqi army source said on Thursday."Iraqi army forces, backed by U.S. troops, waged a crackdown operation in Yankaga village in Touz Khormato district, south of Kirkuk," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.


Mosul:
#1: A car bomb and a roadside bomb went off coordinately near a convoy of the governor of Nineveh province in the capital city of Mosul on Thursday, killing eight people and wounding 18 others, a provincial police source said. The double bombing took place after midday and apparently targeted the convoy of governor Duraid Kashmoulah in the Bab al-Toub area in central Mosul, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Kashmoulah narrowly escaped unhurt and five of his bodyguards were among the wounded, the source said.

A car bomb exploded near the provincial governor's office in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, killing 18 people and wounding 62, Governor Duraid Kashmula said.
The bomb exploded soon after two Katyusha rockets landed near Kashmula's office in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Three people were wounded, including a policeman,by a roadside bombing against police patrol in Mosul on Thursday ,a Ninewa police source said. This explosion is the second of its type in Mosul today, after a car bomb attack that killed 17 persons, and wounded 62 others. "A roadside bomb went off targeting a police patrol at al-Borsa neighborhood, western Mosul, wounding three persons including a policeman," a Ninewa police source , who requested anonmity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.


Sulaimaniya:
#1: Two gunmen were killed on Thursday while planting a bomb in eastern Sulaimaniya, a senior police source said. An explosive charge went off, killing the two gunmen who were trying to plant it in Sikawiz border village in Benjwin district in eastern Sulaimaniya," Hassan Nouri told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. "The explosion killed one gunman and seriously injured the other, who later died of his wounds in the hospital," he explained.


Al Anbar Prv:
Karmah:
#1: A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt Thursday inside a municipal government building west of Baghdad, killing at least 12 people attending a meeting of tribal sheiks, police said. Col. Fawzi Fraih, civil defense director of Anbar province, said the sheiks were members of a group opposed to al-Qaida in Iraq and were meeting with Americans when the attack occurred in Karmah, about 20 miles west of Baghdad. The U.S. military would not confirm whether Americans were inside the building during the attack, the third against a municipal government meeting in Iraq this week. Police said the bomber entered the building through a back door, but it was unclear how he managed to evade security for the meeting, which drew community leaders in the town where Sunnis have turned against al-Qaida in Iraq. The media office for Anbar province said the dead included the town's administrative director and at least two chiefs of major Sunni tribes in the area.

At least 20 people were killed Thursday when a suicide bomber targeted a meeting of clan chiefs and tribal leaders in a village to the west of Baghdad, media reports said. Al-Arabiya news channel said that the blast occurred when a suicide attacker detonated himself in the local council in Karma village in Anbar province. The attacker managed to enter through an unguarded gate, al- Arabiya said.

Details of the bombing were sketchy, but U.S. officials confirmed that American service members were among the casualties in the Anbar explosion, which came just days before the United States was to turn Anbar security over to the Iraqis. That plan is now on hold, U.S. officials said.

Fallujah:
#1: A mortar round targeted al-Faris Police Station in al-Amiriyah, Fallujah at 8 a.m. Thursday, killing one civilian and seriously injuring one policeman. Two police vehicles were completely destroyed.



Afghanistan:
#1: A Coalition forces’ helicopter crashed Wednesday in Konar province. No Coalition forces’ Soldiers were seriously injured and all have been returned safely from the incident. The aircraft has been secured.

A spokesman for the troops said there were only two soldiers on board and they had "minor injuries".

#2: A bomb hit troops from the U.S.-led coalition patrolling south of the Afghan capital on Thursday, causing an unspecified number of casualties, the coalition said. The bomb hit the coalition convoy on Thursday morning during a patrol in Wardak province, the coalition said in a statement. Coalition forces secured the scene, but that "the exact number and nature of casualties" was not immediately clear, it said.

#3: PAKISTANI Taliban have threatened to "brutally slaughter" any truck driver caught supplying oil and goods to NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, one of the country’s leading newspapers says. The Pakistani Dawn newspaper said the Taliban, who have given the drivers one week to comply with the ban, posted leaflets in a Mosque near Karachi warning hauliers against supplying equipment to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and US-led troops. One read: "After the deadline, if any truck or trawler is caught supplying diesel, petrol or goods, not only will the vehicle be set on fire but the driver will also be brutally slaughtered. "These attacks will be carried out starting from Karachi to Peshawar, Chaman, Kandahar and Bagram until such time that the supply line of the Christian army is severed."
Pamphlets were also distributed among truck drivers in Mauripur. One truck driver told Dawn: "These threats have affected our work and supplies to Afghanistan have dropped to some extent. Not everyone is willing to go ahead with such a risky trip now."


Casualty Reports:

Staff Sgt. Michael Kacer, Company B, 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, lost his left arm and suffered unspecified hearing loss and internal injuries, as well as vision problems, said his father, Michael T. Kacer. He learned that his son was critically injured by a rocket or mortar. From Afghanistan, Sgt. Kacer was initially flown to Germany before being transferred to Walter Reed on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

War News for Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The British MoD is reporting the death of another soldier from a suspected IED explosion in the Upper Sangin Valley, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Tuesday, June 24th. No other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of three Multi-National Division - North Soldiers in a roadside bombing in Ninewah Province on Tuesday, June 24th. An Iraqi interpreter were also killed in the attack.


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: Seven civilians were wounded in a car bomb explosion that ripped through downtown Baghdad, an informed security source said on Wednesday. "An explosives-rigged car parked near Murattebat al-Saeha, 52nd Street in downtown Baghdad's al-Karada area detonated on Wednesday afternoon, wounding seven civilians," a spokesman for Baghdad operations command, Major General Qassem Ata, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

#2: U.S. forces said a military convoy was fired on from a civilian vehicle near Baghdad airport. U.S. soldiers destroyed the vehicle, killing three occupants, they said.


Diyala Prv:
Bahraz:
#1: One Iraqi soldier was killed and three more were wounded on Wednesday in a booby-trapped house explosion in south of Baaquba, a security source said."A force from the 5th division waged a crackdown operation in a house in al-Mulla Eid village in Bahraz district, south of Baaquba," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

Khan Bani Saad:
#1: A member of Sahwa council was killed in clashes between Sahwa members and insurgents in Khan Bani Saad town 15 miles southwest of Baquba city around 7:00 a.m.


Nassiriyah:
#1: The fighting in the south broke out before dawn near Nassiriyah, 200 miles south of Baghdad, as Iraqi forces were conducting house-to-house searches for Shiite militants. Nassiriyah police chief Brig. Gen. Sabah al-Fatlawi said 14 suspects had been arrested but that sporadic clashes were continuing.

#2: Seven people were wounded in a tribal fight between two sub-tribes south of Nasiriyah city on Wednesday morning. Iraqi army got involved supported by US helicopters to control. The security forces arrested 16 people including seven wounded.


Samarra:
#1: U.S. forces said they killed two suspected al Qaeda members near Samarra, about 110 km (70 miles) north of Baghdad.


Kirkuk:
#1: The assistant director of the Kirkuk public hospital survived an attempt on his life on Wednesday morning when an explosive charge went off targeting his motorcade in central Kirkuk, said a police source. "An improvised explosive device, went off targeting the motorcade of Dr. Sabah Amin al-Dawdi in al-Kournish region in central Kirkuk, injuring his driver," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. "Al-Dawdi was not hurt in the attack," he underlined.

A roadside bomb targeting Kirkuk's health director exploded in the city 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. The health director escaped unhurt but his driver was wounded, they said


Mosul:
#1: Two persons, including a child, were killed and 70 more were wounded in a suicide truck bomb attack in the city of Mosul on Tuesday night, a police source said. "A suicide bomber blew up a booby-trapped truck targeting the Khazrag police station in Bab al-Hadied region in central Mosul at 8.30pm on Tuesday, killing two people, including a child and a policeman, and injuring 70, most of them are civilians," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq. Eight policemen, including two officers, 12 children and 16 women were injured in the blast and rushed to al-Jumhouriya and Mosul public hospitals for treatment," the source added.

#2: The director of the Mosul municipality and his driver were killed on Wednesday morning by unknown gunmen in northern Mosul, a security source said. "Unidentified armed men showered Engineer Khaled Mahmoud and his driver with bullets in al-Baladiyat region in northern Mosul, killing them instantly," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.



Afghanistan:
#1: Militants killed at least a dozen tribal elders in northwest Pakistan, a day after the victims were kidnapped, police told CNN Wednesday. The bodies of at least 12 to 15 members of a local 'jirga' -- or gathering of tribal elders -- were recovered near the town of Jandola, which adjoins the South Waziristan tribal district, police said. Pakistan's state-run news agency put the number of victims at 28 and said they had been lined up and shot dead. The victims were part of a 30-member committee, formed by the Bhittani tribe in the area to work toward peace in the largely lawless region, the Associated Press of Pakistan said.

#2: Coalition airstrikes killed 22 militants who were attacking two towns in eastern Afghanistan, and explosions killed two more foreign soldiers in the south, officials said Wednesday. The U.S.-led coalition said Afghan police called for help when insurgents armed with rockets and guns attacked government offices in the Sarobi and Gomal districts of Paktika province on Tuesday night. "When coalition air support arrived, the 22 militants who attacked the district centers were positively identified and killed," a coalition statement said. Ghamai Khan Mohammadyar, spokesman for the provincial governor, said police had counted the bodies of 22 "enemy fighters" on the battlefield. He said no Afghan forces were killed and claimed that the surviving militants had fled toward the Pakistani border.

Many of those killed were Pakistanis, Samoon said, adding that the injured rebels were from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.


Casualty Reports:

Lance Cpl. Keith Elsass, 20, has endured nine surgeries, two skin grafts and has had as many as 103 stitches to try to recover from his wartime wounds. Elsass returned to the United States from Afghanistan in May after a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Humvee he was driving. He was one of three soldiers injured in the fiery attack. Out of nowhere, a rocket propelled grenade struck the Humvee. In the driver's seat, Elsass managed to move the vehicle out of the danger area. But he was injured, pinned in. "The men assisted me," Elsass said. "They cut me free." Shrapnel had gorged his body — mainly his legs.

Lance Cpl. Justin Rokohl, 21, emerged from an 11-hour back surgery Monday, and if all goes well he could be flown Friday to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
The family was told shortly after Rokohl made it out of surgery that he was not paralyzed, originally thought to be a possibility. A titanium rod more than a foot long was inserted into his back. suffered numerous injuries in a roadside bomb blast that tore through his Humvee on Friday as he and his unit were delivering mail in southern Afghanistan. He broke both feet, both heels, the tibia, fibula and femur on both legs and multiple vertebrae after the explosion blasted him dozens of feet in the air from his post as top machine gunner, his father said. His right leg is in the worst shape, but he still has good circulation to both feet. Doctors haven't had a chance to set his legs, and currently he has external metal plates that run down each leg restricting movement.

Portray Woods A roadside bomb blew away part of Portray Woods' skull, blinded his left eye and paralyzed his right side, leaving little hope that he would ever walk or talk again. Woods, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, said his own comeback is ongoing. Once right-handed, he now writes with his left and is learning to use a prosthetic right arm and hand.

Scott Stephenson was injured in Iraq in December 2006. An attack on his vehicle left him with burns over 80 percent of his body and one of his legs was amputated below the knee. Stephenson subsequently had two strokes, leaving him with limited use of his left arm.

Navy Corpsman Christopher was seriously wounded in Iraq. In September, Braley was struck by a piece of shrapnel from a roadside bomb. The shrapnel went through his eye and into his brain. Since then he has endured several surgeries. The last was to place a titanium plate in his head.

Neil Duncan, a U.S. Army veteran underwent surgery to remove excess scar tissue and repair scars on his face. Duncan was injured while on patrol in Afghanistan. An IED went off under his humvee. The young soldier also lost both of his legs and uses prosthetics to get around.

Sgt. Justin Paul Clenard, was on foot patrol in Kanihar Monday morning when a mortar round hit the ground just beside him.The Marine lost his right leg and his left foot, the senior Clenard said. His vital signs were stable Tuesday afternoon, but he was in critical condition at the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, his father said. Doctors are trying to stabilize him so he can be moved to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

Army Spc. Freddy Meyers, 21, On May 3, 2007, Meyers was manning the machine gun in a Humvee when a sniper's bullet ripped across the top of his head, pushing fragments of his skull into his brain. When he awoke from a drug-induced coma, Meyers could not talk to his wife and parents at his bedside. He could not walk. Now, when he takes off his black beret, a scar is visible in the shape of a horseshoe from the back of his head to his forehead. The scar marks where doctors removed a large piece of his skull to relieve the pressure on his swollen brain.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

War News for Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of two Multi-National Division – Center Soldiers from small arms fire attack near Salman Pak on Monday, June 23rd. Three other soldier were wounded in the attacks.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of two Coalition forces soldiers (Multi-National Division - Baghdad) from an explosion inside the District Advisory Council building in a southern neighborhood of Sadr City district on Tuesday, June 24th. two civilians serving with Coalition forces soldier were wounded in the attack. One Coalition forces soldier and three DAC members were also wounded in the attack. CNN is reporting that "a direct hire civilian employee of the Department of State and a Department of Defense civilian employee." were also killed and ten Iraqis were wounded in the blast. ABS-CBN is now reporting that one of the civilians is an Italian citizen.

The Sheffield Telegraph is reporting the death of a British a security guard. David Mathews suffered horrific injuries to both his legs when an explosive device hit the side of the armored vehicle he was travelling in. An Iraqi interpreter travelling with him was killed instantly. David died at an American military hospital a few hours later. AEGIS colleague Roger Day, travelling in the front of the same vehicle, described in a statement how their heavily armored vehicle, known as a REVA 4x4, was hit from the side by an explosive device.

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier from small arms fire in Upper Sangin Valley, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Tuesday, June 24th. No other details were released.

USA Today is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from a mine in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan. No other details were released. Three other soldiers were killed. No other details were released and we assume this to be an American soldier.

June 22 airpower summary:


June 23 airpower summary:


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: An explosion rocked a municipal building Tuesday in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, killing six Iraqis, two U.S. soldiers and two civilian U.S. Embassy employees, an embassy official said. The embassy official said the American civilians include "a direct hire civilian employee of the Department of State and a Department of Defense civilian employee." The blast occurred during a meeting of the district advisory council in Sadr City, and U.S. troops were in the area, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. The U.S. military confirmed the deaths, saying an American-led coalition soldier and three council members also were wounded. Ten Iraqis were wounded in the blast, an Interior Ministry official said.

#2: Unknown gunmen shot down the chairman of Baghdad's Abu Dasheer municipal council in front of his house, local eyewitnesses said on Tuesday. "Unidentified gunmen opened fire on the council's chief, Mahdi Atwan, in front of his house in Abu Dasheer neighborhood, southern Baghdad, killing him on the spot," an eyewitness told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

#3: Around 8 a.m. a roadside bomb targeted civilians near Al Andalus square in central Baghdad injuring one civilian.

#4: U.S. forces killed one gunman and captured 12 others on Monday in various operations in different parts of northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

#5: One mortar round fell on al-Kamaliyah area, eastern Baghdad, injuring two civilians.

#6: Three unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad by Iraqi Police today; one in Slaikh, one in Bayaa and one in Abu Disheer.Three unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad by Iraqi Police today; one in Slaikh, one in Bayaa and one in Abu Disheer.


Balad:
#1: Two members of a U.S.-backed Iraqi neighbourhood patrol were killed and four others were wounded when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle on the outskirts of Balad town, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.


Rashad:
#1: Gunmen opened fire upon the Mayor of one of the villages in Rashad district, to the southwest of Kirkuk. The Mayor was killed instantly.


Mosul:
#1: U.S. soldiers killed three people of the same family and arrested two other members in a raid on a house in western Mosul on Tuesday, police said. "The house raided by the U.S. forces was in al-Uraibi neighborhood, western Mosul. The raiding troops killed three and detained two, all members of the same family, without any apparent reason," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: Unidentified gunmen kidnapped four Mosul University students while heading for their final exams in the western part of the city on Tuesday, police said. "Unknown gunmen boarding two civilian vehicles kidnapped four University Mosul students, residents of al-Anbar province, in al-Shifaa neighborhood, western Mosul, on Tuesday," the source, who asked not to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq. "The kidnappers released two of the four a short while later."

#3: Militants shot dead an off-duty police lieutenant studying law in the University of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, as he left the campus, police said.

#4: Police found the body of a tax department employee, who had been shot, in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.



Afghanistan:
#1: Coalition warplanes swooped down on militants withdrawing from a firefight with police into the mountains of eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 15 of them, officials said. Ismatullah Alizai, the police chief of Paktia province, said no one was hurt in the initial battle at the government headquarters in the town of Sayid Karam.First Lt. Nathan Perry, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, said an unmanned drone identified the retreating gunmen and "close air support was used to engage and kill" them. Alizai said 15 militants were killed. All the bodies as well as four wounded fighters were at a local hospital, he said.

#2: Meanwhile, police said a female officer was shot dead by two assailants on a motorcycle in western Afghanistan. The gunmen fired three bullets into the officer's torso as she walked home from work on Monday in Guzara district of Herat province, police spokesman Raouf Ahmadi said.

#3: At least 19 people were killed and more than a dozen injured in fresh clashes in militant-dominated north-west Pakistan, media reports said on Tuesday. Fierce fighting erupted between troops loyal to top Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and pro-government tribesmen on Monday when militants attacked the members of a peace committee in the town Jandola, the gateway to the restive South Waziristan tribal district. Up to 12 people were killed and 10 others were wounded in ensuing gun battles that continued during the night, the English-language DawnNews television channel reported. Both sides used heavy weapons and rocket-propelled grenades to take out each other's targets.

#4: Meanwhile, six bodies of men believed to be involved in criminal activities were found near a market in Ghaljo area of the Orakzai tribal district, officials said. "Pro-Taliban militants had kidnapped the six men last month as part of their anti-vice campaign," an official in the local administration said. All the victims were shot dead.

#5: Suspected militants torched a column of trucks carrying military supplies just south of the Afghan capital on Tuesday. Afghan officials said an unknown number of men riding motorcycles and armed with guns and rockets attacked the supply convoy near Saydabad, a town in Wardak province about 40 miles (70 kilometers) from Kabul.

Insurgents have torched a column of trucks carrying military supplies south of Kabul. Afghan officials say an unknown number of men riding motorcycles and armed with guns and rockets attacked the supply convoy Tuesday near Saydabad, a town in Wardak province 70 kilometres from Kabul. Local mayor Fazel Karim Muslim says more than 40 trucks carrying food, water and fuel were damaged. Most of them were burned. He adds that one person in the convoy was killed and three others wounded. Muslim says the attackers fled when Afghan and foreign security forces, including aircraft, reached the scene. Associated Press Television News video shows blazing trucks standing three abreast on the Kabul-Kandahar highway, black smoke billowing into nearby mud-walled villages. Bulldozers pushed the smouldering wrecks off the melting asphalt, toppling several of them sideways into the desert as a helicopter gunship circled overhead.


Casualty Reports:

Kevin Kammerdiener, 19, of East Brady is hospitalized at an Army hospital in San Antonio, where he was taken after being wounded May 31. He remains in a coma with severe head injuries and burns suffered when a suicide bomber drove into his Humvee in Afghanistan.

Juan Castaneda Jr. had only been in Iraq for two weeks when he was sent on the patrol that would earn him a Purple Heart. It was noon on Aug. 31, 2006, in Ad Dawr when the caravan of four patrol Humvees rolled past a market and into a narrow street. The Army specialist was a backseat passenger in the last vehicle when two grenade explosions blew out the Humvee's doors. The soldier sitting in front of Castaneda, a truck commander, was killed. Castaneda had shrapnel wounds and a collapsed eardrum, which cost the 22-year- old soldier the hearing in his left ear.

Sgt. Richard Massimino, his back was fractured while he was riding in a Humvee during a mortar attack. However, his injuries this time were too severe for him to continue his fight for freedom as a Marine. Although Massimino walks with the help of a cane, he has to spend about 40 percent of his time in a wheelchair.

Monday, June 23, 2008

War News for Monday, June 23, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Coalition Force soldier (Multi-National Division – North) in three roadside bomb attacks on Coalition force patrols in Diyala province on Friday, June 29th. Five other soldier were wounded in the attacks.

IC Publications is reporting the death of a U.S. soldier from small arms fire in Madain Iraq on Monday, June 23rd. Five additional soldiers were wounded in the attack as reported by the U.S. military.

CJTF-101 is reporting the deaths of four coalition soldiers from an IED attack in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 21st. Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

NATO is reporting the death of one ISAF soldier from an IED attack in Paktika Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 21st. Four additional soldiers were wounded in the attack. Nowe Media is reporting the soldier is from the Polish contingency was an officer and the attack was 40 kilometres from Wazi Khwa base.

CJTF-101 is reporting the death of a coalition soldier in an IED attack while conducting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan on Friday, June 20th. Two other soldiers and one Afghani civilian were wounded in the attack.

CJTF-101 is reporting the death of a coalition service member in a suicide attack and small arms fire in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Friday, June 20th. One Afghani civilian was killed in the attack.

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Hospitalman Dustin Kelby Burnett. He died while conducting combat operations in Farah Province, Afghanistan on Friday, June 20th. No other details were released.

PNC News is reporting the death of a civilian security company personal. Christopher Quitugua died in a convoy accident in Iraq on an undisclosed date. No other details were released. According to Pacific Daily News Christopher Quitugua's grandparents, Albert A. Quitugua and Maria C. Quitugua, their grandson and three others were in a vehicle in a convoy when a tire blowout caused the vehicle to flip.


OIF/OEF fatalities. PDF

June 20 airpower summary:

June 21 airpower summary:

A Sunni legislator said on Monday that the security agreement to be signed between Baghdad and Washington would allow the latter to attack any country from Iraqi territories. "The Iraqi-U.S. agreement contains several items that impinge upon the sovereignty of Iraq, including the right of the U.S. forces in Iraq to attack any nation and raid any Iraqi house and arrest people without prior permission from the Iraqi government," Khalaf al-Alyan, a member of parliament from the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

Reporters Say Networks Block War Reports

video: Afghanistan: Lost in translation


Reported Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: A roadside bomb targeted a National Police patrol in Waziriyah, near the cotton wool plant intersection at 11.30 a.m. Monday, injuring three policemen.

#2: A roadside bomb targeted a US military convoy in Qahira, near the water reservoir at noon. No casualties were reported.

#3: A roadside bomb targeted a US military convoy in Salahuddin Square, Kathimiyah neighbourhood at around noon. No casualties were reported.

#4: A roadside bomb targeted a US military convoy in Adil neighbourhood at around 1 p.m. No casualties were reported.


Diyala Prv:
#1: At least 10 people were killed when insurgents fired off a spate of mortar rounds which fell on houses in Iraq's restive province of Diyala, officials told AFP on Monday. The projectiles, fired during the night in the town of Al-Adhaim, were apparently aimed at the police headquarters and the mayor's office but fell instead on people's homes, a government security official said. The mortars killed at least 10 people and wounded around 20, the official added. The attack was confirmed by Abdul Jabbar al-Obeidi, mayor of Adhaim, which is about 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of the provincial capital Baquba.


Kut:
#1: A woman was wounded when a mortar shell landed in the heart of al-Nasr neighborhood, western Kut, on Monday, police said. "The woman was rushed to a hospital from the mortar shell of 120 mm., which also damaged a civilian vehicle," a security source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq. "The shell perhaps targeted the Delta base, where the Multi-National Force (MNF) troops are stations in Wassit," the source said, adding the police started to investigate the incident.The Delta base is 15 km western Kut city.


Mosul:
#1: A suicide car bomb attacked a police patrol in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, wounding 14 people, including 4 policemen, a provincial police source said on Monday. The attack occurred late on Sunday in the al-Wihda neighborhood in southern Mosul, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#2: Three Iraqi army servicemen, including an officer in the rank of major, were wounded while trying to dismantle an improvised explosive device (IED) in northern Mosul on Monday, an official army source said. The IED went off while a bomb squad was trying to defuse it in al-Rashidiya neighborhood, seriously wounding Maj. Fakher Braori, the commander of the Iraqi army's 3rd contingent, 8th Brigade, and two other soldiers," the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq. "Maj. Braori lost a hand and a leg," the source said, adding the wounded were rushed to a hospital for treatment. He did not give further information on the incident.

#3: A policeman and a woman were killed and two civilians were wounded in an armed attack in western Mosul, a security source said on Monday. "Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a police checkpoint in Mosul al-Jadida region in western Mosul, killing one policeman and a woman and injuring two more, including a child," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

#4: Gunmen killed a university student in a drive-by shooting in northern Mosul, police said.

#5: Gunmen killed an off-duty policemen at a market in western Mosul, police said.


Al Anbar Prv:
#1: The U.S. military will transfer control of security in Iraq's Anbar province to Iraqi forces this week.



Afghanistan:
#1: The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan says it has killed 55 militants in the east of the country.
A coalition statement said the battle took place on Friday in Paktika province, which borders Pakistan. It said militants ambushed a patrol with rocket and gun fire, prompting troops to fire back and call in warplanes.

#2: Suspected pro-Taliban Militants kidnapped 17 Pakistani policemen from posts on the road through the Khyber Pass, the latest insecurity on the vital supply route for Western forces in Afghanistan. Militants attacked four checkposts on the winding road through the pass that leads to the Afghan border on Sunday night, kidnapping the policemen and wounding one in a brief exchange of fire, a senior government official in the region said. "Our 17 khasadar are missing," said the official in Landikotal, the main town in the Khyber region, referring to members of special police forces raised in ethnic Pashtun tribal agencies.

#3: An Afghan official says police and U.S.-led forces attacked militants planting a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan and one insurgent and two civilians were killed. Zalmay Dadak, mayor of Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, said police shot dead one suspect shortly before midnight Sunday and gave chase to the others. Dadak said a helicopter from the U.S.-led coalition fired at the militants but also hit a house in a village, killing a man and a young child.

#4: At least 11 Shia Muslims were executed by a rival Sunni group in Pakistan's Kurram agency, a volatile north-western tribal district, a tribal leader said Monday. The beheaded bodies of eight people from the Shia tribe Toori were found dumped in Arawali and three in the Sadda area of the district, tribal chief Ali Akbar told the Geo news television channel. All those killed were abducted Friday when a food convoy they were travelling with came under attack in the Sunni-dominated area of Pir Qayyum, about 30 kilometres south-east of Kurram's central town of Parachinar.

#5: Four people, including a security guard, were killed in the ambush. Later, government forces, backed by helicopter gunships, chased the attackers, killing five of them.

#6: NATO forces struck back with two artillery attacks across the border into Pakistan after attackers hiding there fired a barrage of rockets into Afghanistan that killed three children, officials said Sunday. NATO said five rockets were fired at one of its bases in Khost province overnight. At least one hit a house in Kunday, a small village that sits between two military bases, killing the three children. Another hit a NATO base, wounding an Afghan man, the alliance said. NATO said its forces responded "in self-defense" to the attack "with artillery fire on the launch site located about 300 meters (yards) inside Pakistan." In an earlier attack Saturday afternoon, three rounds of "indirect fire" — which often refers to mortar or rocket attacks — landed near a NATO outpost in neighboring Paktika province, the alliance said. Three more landed in an Afghan army compound. No casualties were reported. NATO said those rounds also came from inside Pakistan and responded with artillery fire. NATO reported that another overnight barrage of rockets aimed at a base in Khost — this time from inside Afghanistan — killed another civilian. It responded with an airstrike as well as artillery fire, it said.

#7: Record duo face Taliban rocket attack with Scots forces. (this is worth reading)

#8: TALIBAN fighters have ambushed a food convoy intended for foreign soldiers, killing one truck driver and wounding another, a local police chief said. The militants claimed four security guards hired to protect the convoy had been killed and several trucks were burned in Sunday's attack. But a police spokesmen in the province said only one driver was killed and another wounded in the ambush, which happened in the Showak district of Paktia province. Two vehicles were set on fire during the attack, the spokesman said. The convoy was on its way from Gardez to Khost city to carry food to US-led troops based in Khost province.

#9: A Canadian soldier remained in serious condition Sunday following a traffic accident Saturday afternoon when an RG-31, or Nyala, armoured vehicle rolled over in Kandahar City. Three soldiers were injured in the incident, which occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. local time. One soldier was flown by helicopter to the multinational medical unit at Kandahar airfield. The two others were treated for minor injuries and did not require hospitalization.

#10: U.S.-led coalition and Afghan troops killed several Taliban insurgents in an air and ground assault in Sangin district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday, a U.S. military statement said on Monday.

#11: Several militants were killed during U.S.led coalition operation in the southern Afghan province of Helmand of Sunday, U.S. military said in a statement on Monday.

#12: Police say a suspected suicide car bomb has killed four civilians in western Afghanistan.
Police official Abdul Shuqur says the sports utility vehicle exploded at a market in the town of Shindand on Monday afternoon. Shuqur says witnesses told him that seconds before the blast the vehicle approached a convoy of foreign troops and that the troops opened fire on it. He says 12 other people were wounded.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

News of the Day for Sunday, June 22, 2008

Men lie face down as their vehicle is searched by the Iraqi police in Amara, 185 miles southeast of Baghdad, June 20, 2008. The men were released later after the police did not find any weapons or explosives in their vehicle.
(Atef Hassan/Reuters)









See update under Mosul at 5:50 ET

Reported Security Incidents

Baghdad

Two bodies with gunshot wounds found dumped in different places.

Baquba

Female suicide bomber attacks a police patrol near the Diyala Governor's office, killing 16. A physician at the local hospital says the dead include 8 policemen, 2 women and a child. AFP correspondent says several police vehicles caught fire. DPA says the death toll is 18, with 38 injured.

al-Dakmat village, near Kirkuk

IED kills 3 civilians, injures 2. No information on the identity of the victims or whether they were the intended target.

McClatchy reports on two roadside bombings in or near Kirkuk, neither of which quite seems to match this incident. In one, 4 civilians were killed by a roadside bomb that targeted their vehicle in Fashka village west of Kirkuk on Sunday morning. In the second, 3 civilians were killed and 2 injured at "Rashad –Kirkuk Street southwest Kirkuk city." So, it's unclear whether there were two or three incidents.

Kirkuk

Explosion near the Iraqi Red Crescent Association headquarters causes no damage.


Mosul

One policeman killed, another injured in a drive-by shooting.

Car bomb attack on a police checkpoint injures 17, apparently mostly police. No reports of deaths as of this time.

Hilla

Bomb concealed in a bag injures 2 in a marketplace.

Other News of the Day

McClatchy's Leila Fadel reports on the reaction of victims of Iraqis massacred in Haditha to the acquittal of all the Marines charged in the case. As we have seen innumerable times, occupation forces kill Iraqis with impunity. Excerpt:

HADITHA, Iraq — Khadija Hassan still shrouds her body in black, nearly three years after the deaths of her four sons. They were killed on Nov. 19, 2005, along with 20 other people in the deadliest documented case of U.S. troops killing civilians since the Vietnam War.

Eight Marines were charged in the case, but in the intervening years, criminal charges have been dismissed against six. A seventh Marine was acquitted. The residents of Haditha, after being told they could depend on U.S. justice, feel betrayed.

"We put our hopes in the law and in the courts and one after another they are found innocent," said Yousef Aid Ahmed, the lone surviving brother in the family. "This is an organized crime."

No one disputes that Marines killed 24 men, women and children in this town in four separate shootings that morning. Relatives said the attack was a massacre of innocent civilians that followed a roadside bomb that killed one Marine and injured two. Marines say they came under fire following the bomb.


Iraqi forces continue to conduct raids and make arrests in Amara, capital of Missan province. The target is the Sadrist political opposition. Excerpt:

Missan, Jun 22, (VOI) – Joint forces re-searched three areas in Amara city in hunt of gunmen wanted by the security apparatus, a spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.

"During the early hours of Sunday morning, joint forces from the army and police re-raided the areas of Awasha, al-Hussein al-Qadeem neighborhood, and al-Majidia (central Amara) following intelligence reports about the presence of armed group leaders in these areas," Major General Muhammad al-Askari told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI).

"A 240 mm rocket, with a range of 150 km, was seized in Awasha area. A sophisticated factory for manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) was found in al-Hussein neighborhood and a large cache of arms and ammunition was found in the office of a representative for Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in al-Majidiya area, northern Amara," al-Askari explained. "A total of 16 persons wanted by justice on serious charges were arrested during the operations," al-Askari noted.

Earlier, an official spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said that Missan's security operation Bashaer al-Salam (Promise of Peace) was launched early on Thursday morning. Security forces arrested the mayor of Amara city, who is also the deputy governor of Missan province and one of the prominent figures in the Sadrist bloc.


Iraqi courts have ordered 20,000 inmates freed under the amnesty law. However, it is not clear how many have in fact been released so far. Charges have been dismissed against more than 75,000 people who were not in detention. The law does not apply to prisoners held by the United States, of whom there are more than 20,000.

Commentary and Analysis

IHT editorial board weighs in on negotiations between the Iraqi government and foreign oil corporations. Excerpt:

So great is the demand for oil today - and so great the concern over rising prices - that it would be tempting to uncritically embrace plans by major Western oil companies to return to Iraq.

Unfortunately, the evolving deals could well rekindle understandable suspicions in the Arab world about oil being America's real reason for invading Iraq and fan even more distrust and resentment among Iraq's competing religious and ethnic factions.

snip

The contracts are being let without competitive bidding to companies that since the American invasion have been quietly advising Iraq's oil ministry how to increase production. While the contracts are limited to refurbishing equipment and technical support and last only two years, they would give these companies an inside track on vastly more lucrative long-term deals.

Given that corruption is an acknowledged problem in Iraq's government, the contracts would have more legitimacy if the bidding were open to all and the process more transparent. Iraqis must apply that standard when they let contracts for long-term oil field development.

Also troubling is that the deals were made even though Iraq's Parliament has failed to adopt oil and revenue sharing laws - critical political benchmarks set by the Bush administration. That is evidence of continued deep divisions in Iraq over whether oil should be controlled by central or regional government, whether international oil companies should be involved in development and how the profits should be distributed.


AP's Robert Reid discusses the U.S.-Iraqi negotiations over the Status of Forces Agreement. Nothing really new here, but as usual Reid does a good job of laying out the situation. We aren't allowed to use the word, but the U.S. is demanding imperial powers in Iraq.

Opposition to the initial U.S. demands brought together rival Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders who all complain that the deal would leave real power in American hands.

The oil minister, who is close to the country's powerful Shiite clerical leadership, told the British newspaper the Guardian last week that Iraq will demand the right to veto any U.S. military operation. But American commanders believe they need such sweeping powers to protect U.S. soldiers in a combat zone.

Publicly, U.S. officials have expressed confidence they can find language that will satisfy the Iraqis on all major issues. But the negotiations are taking place against the backdrop of war and intense power struggles among rival ethnic groups in Iraq - each with its own agenda.

The U.S. operates scores of bases throughout the country, including the sprawling Camp Victory headquarters in Baghdad, Asad air base in western Iraq and the giant air facility at Balad, a 16-square-mile installation about 60 miles north of the capital that houses tens of thousands of American troops, contractors and U.S. government civilians. It's still unclear how many of the facilities Washington would want to keep.

If all else fails, the two sides could go back to the U.N. Security Council and seek an extension of the mandate allowing troops in Iraq. But that could prove politically embarrassing - and difficult - in the waning days of the Bush administration or the early days of the new U.S. presidency.

Some commentators likened the U.S. position to the Iraqi-British treaty of 1930, which gave Britain virtual control of the country and is widely seen in Iraq as a humiliation.


Afghanistan Update

Four Afghans killed in two separate rocket attacks on NATO bases southern Afghanistan. One of the barrages is said to have been launched from inside Pakistan, leading the NATO forces to retaliate by firing artillery into Pakistan.

On Saturday, a roadside bomb attack on a convoy near Kandahar killed four foreign troops and injured two. As usual, the NATO command did not immediately state the nationality of the casualties. Separately, a roadside bomb killed a Polish soldier in Paktika Province, and attacks on Afghan troops in Zabul and Kunar provinces killed five.

British Defense Ministry confirms the use of so-called "thermobaric weapons" in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union endured worldwide condemnation for the use of such weapons in Chechnya. Excerpt:

BRITISH troops have used missiles in Afghanistan which suck the air out of human targets, shred their internal organs and crush their bodies, according to a leading British newspaper. The Hellfire missiles, also known as vacuum bombs, are condemned by human rights groups as "brutal".

Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) admitted to the London Times newspaper that its soldiers had fired the controversial thermobaric weapons, used to kill fighters in buildings and caves, from Apache attack helicopters in Afghanistan.

The MoD said the Hellfire AGM-114N, which creates a human-crushing vacuum with a second explosion, had proved so successful that the missile will now be fired from unmanned predator drones.


Quote of the Day

When modern Iraq was created after World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman empire, there was widespread expectation among its people that independence and self-government would follow. Instead the League of Nations (predecessor to the United Nations) granted administrative control to the British, who imposed a client monarchy and, for the next four decades, attempted to retain military bases in Iraq, exercise the unrestricted right to transport their troops across the country, and control Iraq's oil. (Note 11) It took a revolution in 1958 to overthrow the British-installed monarchy, though political reconciliation in Iraq did not follow. For Iraqis of all persuasions and most political inclinations, acquiescence to a SOFA imposed by a foreign power would seem like a throwback to the colonial era. (Note 12)

According to Cockburn's reporting, "President Bush wants to push [the security pact] through by the end of next month [July 2008] so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated." (Note 13) A prime beneficiary of the acceptance of a military agreement that the Iraqi people do not believe respects their rights or serves their interests would probably be the vast, privatized U.S. military/intelligence complex, positioned to profit from repressing the resistance sure to follow. If the Bush administration's goal is achieved through secret deals and pressure tactics it would only confirm the widespread view that its commitment to democracy is primarily self-serving. In Iraq as elsewhere there are many who would welcome a genuine American commitment to liberty and human rights but believe that U.S. actions contradict its rhetoric.


National Security Archive