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Oct 15th, 2008

U.N Envoy: Afghan Insurgency Spreading

Says Taliban influence reaching beyond traditional strongholds

The Associated Press and Reuters via
October 14, 2008

UNITED NATIONS — The insurgency in Afghanistan has spread beyond Taliban strongholds while the number of attacks in the country has reached a six-year high, a top U.N. envoy said on Tuesday.

Kai Eide, the U.N.’s special representative to Afghanistan, told the United Nations Security Council that insurgents are unlikely to ease attacks this winter as their influence continues to spread beyond traditional strongholds to provinces around Kabul. …

Violence in Afghanistan this year is worse than at any time since U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the militant Islamist Taliban in 2001 and fears are growing among NATO members that they are losing both the military campaign and the support of ordinary Afghans.

Last week the U.S. military said 33 Afghan civilians had been killed in a U.S. air raid in August, up from an original estimate of five to seven. The incident put a strain on U.S. relations with Kabul and the United Nations. …

Full story


3 NATO Soldiers, 16 Civilians Die in Afghanistan

October 14, 2008

KABUL, Afghanistan — U.S. military successes in Iraq have forced sophisticated and well-trained insurgents to pour into Afghanistan instead, part of the reason violence has spiked in the country, the Afghan defense minister said Tuesday.

In a demonstration of the increasingly deadly attacks, a roadside blast in the east where U.S. soldiers operate killed three NATO troops, while two separate roadside bombs in the south killed 16 Afghan civilians, officials said.

The Afghan defense minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, said terrorists who would have once fought in Iraq have been “diverted” to Afghanistan. …

The top U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, told The Associated Press last month that he is seeing a spike in the number of foreign militants — including Arabs and Chechens — flowing into Afghanistan. He said militant Web sites have been encouraging fighters to go to Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

The Iraqi insurgency at its height drew Arab extremists and other jihadi leaders who were once focused on Afghanistan, including the Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri, believed to be the current leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Iran also stepped up aid to Shiite militias as sectarian strife grew after 2006. But the precise number foreign fighters in Iraq was never clear and many U.S. commanders believe local Iraqis comprise the bulk of the al-Qaida and other jihadi forces.

In Afghanistan, militant attacks have turned deadlier and more sophisticated this year, part of the reason more U.S. and NATO troops have died there in 2008 than in any year since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. …

Violence has risen steadily in Afghanistan since late 2005. More than 4,700 people — mostly militants — have been killed in insurgency related-violence this year, according to an Associated Press count of figured provided by Afghan and Western officials. …

Full story



Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008 as reported by Reuters.

BAGHDAD – A U.S. soldier died of wounds sustained Tuesday when his patrol was attacked in western Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

MOSUL – One civilian was killed and another wounded in a drive-by shooting in central Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Two policemen were wounded when a bomb hit their patrol in the western part of Mosul, some 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

TUZ KHURMATO – Two separate roadside bombs wounded five civilians Monday in Tuz Khurmato, 105 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK – An explosion struck a secondary pipeline transporting unrefined gas from Kirkuk’s Bai Hasan oilfields early Tuesday, police and officials from the North Oil Company said. Kirkuk is about 155 miles north of Baghdad.

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military said it killed two suspected militants and detained 13 others in operations in northern and central Iraq on Monday and Tuesday.



Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America’s Enemies

By Peter W. Galbraith

Called by New York Times columnist David Brooks the “smartest and most devastating” critic of President George W. Bush’s Iraq policies, Peter Galbraith was the earliest expert to describe Iraq’s breakup into religious and ethnic entities, a reality now commonly accepted.

The Iraq war was intended to make the United States more secure, bring democracy to the Middle East, intimidate Iran and Syria, help win the war on terror, consolidate American world leadership, and entrench the Republican Party for decades. Instead,

  • Bush handed Iran its greatest strategic triumph in four centuries
  • U.S. troops now fight to support an Iraqi government led by religious parties intent on creating an Iranian-style Islamic republic
  • As part of the surge, the United States created a Sunni militia led by the same Baathists the U.S. invaded Iraq to overthrow
  • Obsessed with Iraq’s nonexistent WMD, the Bush administration gave Iran and North Korea a free pass to advance their nuclear programs
  • Turkey, a key NATO ally long considered a model pro-Western Muslim democracy, became one of the most anti-American countries in the world
  • U.S. prestige around the world reached an all-time low

Iraq: Galbraith challenges the assertion that the surge will lead to victory. By creating a Sunni army, the surge has, in fact, contributed to Iraq’s breakup and set the stage for an intensified civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. If the United States wishes to escape the Iraq quagmire, it must face up to the reality that the country has broken up and cannot be put back together.

Iran: Having helped Iran’s allies take control in Baghdad, the Bush administration no longer has a viable military option to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Galbraith discusses how a president more pragmatic than Bush might get Iran to freeze its nuclear program as part of a package deal to upgrade relations between two countries equally threatened by Sunni extremism.

Turkey, Syria, and Israel: A war intended to make Israel more secure, undermine Syria’s Assad regime, and strengthen ties with Turkey has had the opposite result.

Nationalism: In the coming decades, other countries may follow Iraq’s example in fragmenting along ethnic and religious lines. Galbraith draws on his considerable experience in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia to predict where and what the United States might do about it.

The United States: George W. Bush substituted wishful thinking for strategy and as a result made America weaker. Galbraith provides some rules for a national strategy that will appeal equally to conservatives and liberals — indeed, to anyone who believes the United States needs an effective national security strategy.

Simon & Schuster, September 30, 2008
Hardcover, 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1-4165-6225-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-6225-2


Related resources

Video: How defeating one enemy in Iraq strengthened others (05:41)

Compare: Statement on the Iraq War



The U.S. War in Iraq — An Insider’s View

William Davnie, retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer, speaks on “The U.S. War in Iraq — An Insider’s View” at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 15, in the Henrita Academic Building (HAB) 128, College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn.

The presentation, part of the Global Awareness Lecture Series at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University is co-sponsored by the Islamic Studies Task Force. The event is free and open to the public.

3 Responses to “Afghan Insurgency Spreading”
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