Monday, February 4, 2008

Taliban attacks on allied troops in Afghanistan soar by up to a third

Jason Burke
Sunday February 3, 2008
The Observer

Attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan surged last year, according to previously unpublished figures from allied military forces fighting insurgents.

Statistics compiled by the multinational International Stabilisation Force in Afghanistan show attacks on international troops and the Afghan government have gone up by between a fifth and a third.

But although admitting the figures show a 'significant rise', Nato insists the geographic extent of the violence remains limited. 'Seventy per cent of the incidents took place in just 10 per cent of the country, where no more than 6 per cent of the population live, and many have been initiated by our forces as we engage with the enemy,' a Nato source said. 'That is the same area as in 2006 which shows the insurgency is not spreading.'

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Bombs Away over Iraq

By Tom Engelhardt,

Posted on February 4, 2008, Printed on February 4, 2008

A January 21st Los Angeles Times Iraq piece by Ned Parker and Saif Rasheed led with an inter-tribal suicide bombing at a gathering in Fallujah in which members of the pro-American Anbar Awakening Council were killed. ("Asked why one member of his Albu Issa tribe would kill another, Aftan compared it to school shootings that happen in the United States.")

Twenty-six paragraphs later, the story ended this way:
"The U.S. military also said in a statement that it had dropped 19,000 pounds of explosives on the farmland of Arab Jabour south of Baghdad. The strikes targeted buried bombs and weapons caches

"In the last 10 days, the military has dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of explosives on the area, which has been a gateway for Sunni militants into Baghdad."

And here's paragraph 22 of a 34-paragraph January 22nd story by Stephen Farrell of the
New York Times:
"The threat from buried bombs was well known before the [Arab Jabour] operation. To help clear the ground, the military had dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of bombs to destroy weapons caches and I.E.D.'s."

Farrell led his piece with news that an American soldier had died in Arab Jabour from an IED that blew up "an MRAP, the new Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicle that the American military is counting on to reduce casualties from roadside bombs in Iraq."

Note that both pieces started with bombing news -- in one case a suicide bombing that killed several Iraqis; in another a roadside bombing that killed an American soldier and wounded others.

But the major bombing story of these last days -- those 100,000 pounds of explosives that U.S. planes dropped in a small area south of Baghdad -- simply dangled unexplained off the far end of the Los Angeles Times piece; while, in the New York Times, it was buried inside a single sentence.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of this blog: And now you can understand why I have been harping on the fact the mainstream media in the United States has abandoned covering the Iraq war except for what we call in the journalism business a sidebar story.

Click on link above to read the rest of this story....


The right-wingers like to call it "collateral damage." There are others of us who served in the U.S. military who call it "FUBAR."

Whatever definition one chooses doesn't make any difference. The bottom line is the U.S. military is making more enemies than friends in Iraq with the senseless killing of more Iraqi citizens.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of this blog.

Military: 9 Iraqi civilians accidentally killed

By Lauren Frayer - The Associated PressPosted : Monday Feb 4, 2008 10:41:27 EST

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military said Monday that it had accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians during an operation targeting al-Qaida in Iraq, the deadliest known case of mistaken identity in recent months.

The civilians were killed Saturday near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of the Baghdad, Navy Lt. Patrick Evans told The Associated Press. Three wounded civilians were taken to U.S. military hospitals nearby, he said.

Evans did not give details about exactly how the people died but said the killings occurred as U.S. forces pursued suspected al-Qaida in Iraq militants. The incident is under investigation, he said.

Iraqi police said the victims, including two women, were in two houses in the village of Tal al-Samar, which was bombed by American warplanes late Saturday. They were all Sunni, an officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

The U.S. airstrike occurred after an American convoy came under enemy fire in Tal al-Samar and soldiers called for air support, the Iraqi officer said.

Shortly after the incident, American officers met with a Muslim sheik representing citizens in the area, Evans said.

“We offer our condolences to the families of those who were killed in this incident, and we mourn the loss of innocent civilian life,” he said in a statement e-mailed to the AP.

2 US Soldiers, 31 Iraqis Killed; 17 Iraqis Wounded

In an attempt to quell bad feelings between Sunnis and Shi’ites, the Iraq parliament passed a law allowing former Ba’ath Party members to return to the posts they held during the Saddam regime; however, there is a possibility that the law could be overturned during an automatic review process. Separately, a spokesman for the Baghdad security plan held a news conference, where he described the deteriorating infrastructure Baghdad residents suffer through.

Otherwise, it was a routine news day with only 31 Iraqis killed and 17 more wounded in recent attacks. Also, two American soldiers were reported killed.

One American soldier died of non-combat-related causes yesterday in Ninewah. Also, the DOD reported that a rocket-propelled grenade killed a U.S. soldier on Thursday.

Officials in Diwaniya
released 309 of the 566 detainees captured during the recent Operation Lion's Leap due to a lack of evidence involving them in any crimes; however, 75 are expected to be given death sentences. It is believed that many people held long-term in jails across Iraq are innocent, as they have not yet received trials.

In Baghdad,
three unidentified bodies were found dumped in separate neighborhoods. A senior police commando official was killed in Mansour when a bomb planted in his car exploded; two bodyguards were also wounded.

In a separate incident nearby, security contractors shot and wounded a man. In Suleikh, a mortar round killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded four others.

Also, an IED targeted a U.S. convoy passing through al-Bayaa, but the number of casualties was not reported.

In Baquba, gunmen attacked an Awakening Council meeting and
killed four members, whose ages ranged from 17 to 21-years. A police officer was also killed.

A bomb blast wounded three people, including a Diyala provincial council member; a curfew was set in place after the incident.

Two people were injured during a car bombing in Mosul’s al-Maliya neighborhood. Also, residents are stocking up on food and other items ahead of a prolonged assault by Iraqi security on suspected al-Qaeda elements and other gunmen who continue to torment the city.

wounded a policemen in Fallujah.

policeman was killed during a drive-by shooting in Kut.

U.S. forces
killed three suspects and detained 36 in northern and central Iraq.

The U.S. base in Kirkuk
received mortar fire. Also, gunmen attacked a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party office, injuring one of the guards.

In Samarra, Iraqi police reported that
seven civilians were killed during a U.S. air attack in the al-Milah neighborhood.

killed a man in al-Hamdaniyah yesterday.

The U.S. military apologized for
killing nine civilians wounding three more during a security operation in Iskandariyah.

Comment by Bill Corcoran, editor and host of this blog. The killings and carnage continue all across Iraq with the mainstream media in the United States paying little or no attention at all to what is taking place in Iraq.