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38 US, 76 Afghan casualties this week; Iraq violence continues; 1 Million jobless veterans

This week has been another bloody one in Afghanistan as the 10-year-long Operation Enduring Disaster continues. During the past week, there have been 38 U.S. casualties and more than 76 Afghan ones in the fighting.

A helicopter crash in in Wardak Province claimed the lives of 30 American Special Forces Navy Seals, 7 Afghan soldiers and an interpreter on Saturday. Two more U.S. soldiers died on Sunday in two separate incidents. One National Guard soldier was killed while on patrol Thursday, along with a Marine in two separate incidents. An Army specialist was killed on Friday in Kandahar Province. Two 10th Mountain Division Soldiers were killed Wednesday in Wardak Province when their unit hit an IED. Another soldier was seriously wounded on Monday.

Two French soldiers were killed and five others were also wounded on Sunday.

The crash of the Chinook helicopter happened during a fire fight with local insurgents. It is unclear what caused the crash. The Taliban claimed to have shot it down in a rocket attack.

Separate bomb blasts in volatile southern Afghanistan killed 10 police and wounded nine civilians. A bomb destroyed at least 16 tankers on Saturday carrying fuel for NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. Four tankers were burned earlier in the week outside of Kabul. A NATO airstrike on Friday in Helmand Provice killed eight people, including women and children.

In Iraq, bombs planted around a house killed five family members and wounded nine in the town of Iskandariya on Sunday. Two bombs exploded near a petrol station wounding three people, including one policeman, in central Mussayab on Friday. On Thursday, Aa roadside bomb wounded 12 people including four policemen, four soldiers and four civilians when it went off near a joint army-police patrol in northern Baghdad. A Katusha rocket also hit the green zone. War-related violence took the lives of at least 23 more Iraqis during the week.

Iraq's prime minister on Sunday fired his electricity minister, who is under investigation for allegations that he failed to follow government guidelines in the signing of $1.7 billion in deals with two foreign companies to build power stations.

More than one million Americanveterans are unemployed, and the jobless rate among those who joined the services after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, stands at 13.3 percent. And more than one million service members are projected to leave the military between 2011 and 2016 in a faltering economy. Yet, the Department of War remains the U.S.' largest agency and politicians insist that it is doing a "good job". posted 07 August, 2011

Iranian shelling of Iraq; UN to say longer; 2 US dead in Afghanistan

Iranian shelling of an Iraqi village in northern Kurdistan killed a 13-year-old boy on Thursday. An Iraqi official said the boy was killed as he was tending his sheep near the Kurdish village of Tabas. Iranian forces have been shelling the area in an attempt to target Kurdish rebels who operate on both sides of the volatile border. Several villages and scores of Iraqis have fled to makeshift refugee camps further inland.

Also on Thursday, two suicide bombers killed at least 15 people and wounded more than 30 in Tikrit as police and soldiers were collecting their salaries at a local bank. One suicide bomber detonated his explosives among officers who were gathered outside the Rafidain bank in the center of Tikrit, 95 miles north of Baghdad, and moments later another blew up a car when emergency workers arrived. Another bomb went off in Mosul.

On Friday, a bomb attached to a car wounded three passengers in the vehicle when it went off in Baghdad's southern Saidiya district. Armed men killed one policeman and a government-backed Sunni Sahwa militia member when they opened fire on a joint police-Sahwa foot patrol in Baqouba. A policeman was killed and ten others wounded in separate attacks in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala on Saturday. In a separate incident, six people were wounded in a roadside bomb explosion at a marketplace in the town of Qara-Tapa, some 80 miles north of Baqouba.

In contravention of the sovereignty and autonomy of Iraq, the U.N. Security Council this week extended the mandate of the UNAMI mission for another year...providing cover for the U.S. or other occupation forces to remain in that country.

Suicide attackers killed at least 19 people, 12 of them young children, when they targeted government buildings in southern Afghanistan Thursday. The assault in Uruzgan province also wounded 35 civilians. The complex assault came the day after the killing of the mayor of Kandahar.

On Friday, a minibus ran over a bomb in Nahri Sarraj district of Helmand province, setting off a blast that killed all 18 passengers. In the second blast, a farm tractor struck a mine in Garmser district, killing one person and wounding four others who were riding the vehicle. In eastern Afghanistan, a bomb killed two U.S. soldiers.

Gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province on Saturday, killing 11 people. Pakistan has placed new travel restrictions on American diplomats living in the country, a U.S. official said Saturday, in the latest sign of the breakdown in ties between Islamabad and Washington since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden. posted 30 July, 2011

$34 B more wasted in Iraq; 20 US casualties; Mortars from Afghanistan hit Pak families

The United States has wasted some $34 billion on service contracts with the private sector in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study being finalized for Congress. The analysis by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, details of which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, offers the most complete look so far at the misuse of U.S. contracting funds in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than $200 billion has been doled out in the contracts and grants over nearly a decade. More than 200,000 contractors have been on the U.S. payroll at times in Iraq and Afghanistan -- outstripping the number of U.S. troops currently on the ground in those countries. The report blames a lack of oversight by federal agencies for misuse of funds and warns of further waste when the programs are transferred to Iraqi or Afghan control as the United States withdraws its troops.

Even as the U.S. plans to withdraw "troops" from Iraq, it plans to maintain a mercentary army. By January 2012, the State Department will do something it’s never done before: command a mercenary army the size of a heavy combat brigade. Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) says that this new mercenary army may lead to additional waste. “Apparently, Ambassador Kennedy doesn’t want us doing the oversight that we believe is necessary and properly within our jurisdiction,” Bowen says. “That hard truth is holding up work on important programs and contracts at a critical moment in the Iraq transition.” So far, the State Department has awarded three security contracts for Iraq worth nearly $2.9 billion over five years for mercs.

There have been at least 20 U.S. casualties in Afghanistan since Monday, including two Texans who died on Tuesday and Thursday.

Two soldiers were killed today in Kandahar, and seven others were injured, following a roadside blast.

Three guardsmen died, and five more were wounded on Monday when an IED detonated on their convory outside of Bagram. One soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Kunar province on Tuesday. Another died from a homemade-bomb on Thursday. Another soldier died from a non-combat injury.

A NATO raid on an insurgents camp in a remote part of southeastern Afghanistan resulted in 80 fighters being killed, Afghan officials said Saturday. The attack began Thursday in Paktika province and limited fighting continued into Saturday

The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan continues to spread into Pakistan. Mortar shells fired from across the border in Afghanistan hit a house in Pakistan on Thursday killing two people and wounding several children. In the latest attack, four mortar shells hit the house in Banda-Gai village in Mamoond area, 40 miles northwest of Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district.

An anti-Taliban militia killed 13 militants in clashes on Friday and Saturday in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border. A suicide bomber blew himself up at an army checkpoint in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing one soldier and wounding two others. posted 24 July, 2011

Petreaus flees failing war; 10 more US dead; Iran hits PJAK in Iraq; Mumbai bomb attacks

General David Petraeus, handed over command of U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan Monday, as Operation Enduring Disaster nears the end of its 10th year. Petraeus, who handed over to U.S. Marine Corps General John Allen, oversaw a "surge" of 30,000 extra U.S. forces last year. However, violence across Afghanistan in 2010 hit its worst levels since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-led Afghan forces in 2001, with civilian and military casualties hitting record levels, and this year has followed a similar trend.

On Monday, three more Americans were killed in a bomb blast bringing to 10 the total of US dead for the week. Two Afghans, part of 33 who were kidnapped earlier in the week were found beheaded in Afghanistan's west Monday. Seven Afghan policemen were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the southern city of Lashkar Gah. A British soldier was shot dead on Sunday in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. NATO warplanes on Sunday bombed a school in eastern Afghanistan. Local residents put the number dead at 6 and wounded civilians at 11, saying that all those killed and injured were tribesmen.

In the fifth killing of a senior official in less than a week, the police chief of Afghanistan's Registan district was killed Monday morning by a roadside bomb. On Sunday, a key political adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a Parliament member were gunned down in a home west of Kabul. Last week, Kandahar's provincial council chief Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president's half-brother, was gunned down by a longtime bodyguard inside his home. During a remembrance ceremony for Wali Karzai at a Kandahar mosque two days later, a suicide bomber slipped into the building and killed six people and wounded 15 others.

Violence continues in occupied Iraq as well. On Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded, killing one member of the government-backed Sunni Sahwa militia and wounding another, on the southwestern outskirts of Kirkuk. Three gunmen were killed and two policemen were wounded during a raid in western Mosul. A roadside bomb blew up, wounding three policemen lin Mahaweel. A woman was stabbed to death in front of her house late on Sunday in the town of Jurf al-Sakhar. Seven Iraqis were killed on Saturday in various parts of the country.

A bomb in a minibus parked outside a restaurant in the Karradah neighborhood of Baghdad killed two people and wounded nine others on Friday. A sticky bomb attached to a policeman's car went off near a checkpoint killing at least three people and wounding 15 others, mainly policemen, in eastern Kerbala. Another bomb attached to a minibus wounded two people in the southern outskirts of Baghdad.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces siezed control of three bases of an Iranian Kurdish opposition group in neighboring Iraq on Monday. IRNA quoted Colonel Delavar Ranjbarzadeh, a local commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guard, as saying "a large number" of members of the Iranian Kurdish opposition group PJAK have been killed in fierce clashes over the past two days. The clashes are still ongoing.

Four U.S. missile strikes in northwestern Pakistan July 12 killed at least 42 people. This included three strikes in North Waziristan and an attack in the Dremala village of South Waziristan.

India was hit by a series of bombs this week as the U.S.-led war in the region continues to overspill into Pakistan and India. Wednesday’s triple-bomb attack on Mumbai that left 19 dead and 129 injured has Pakistan bracing for renewed tensions with India. posted 18 July, 2011

$800 Million Pak military aid pulled; US airstrike kills more women, children; 4 US dead; US House to waste $649 Billion more

The United States is suspending about one-third of its aid - $800 Million - to the Pakistan military to increase pressure on Islamabad on the fight against militants and the terrorist network. Relations with Pakistan have become increasingly tense after the secret US raid into Pakistan in May that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Pakistan has expelled 100 US military trainers and public sentiment against the US has grown.

An Afghan spy agency bodyguard shot dead an American soldier and development worker in a gunfight triggered by a roadside argument Saturday, in the northern province of Panjsher, before being killed by return fire. NATO's International Security Assistance Force said one of the ISAF employees killed was a soldier and the other a civilian. This came on the same day that newly appointed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan for a visit with U.S. and Afghan officials.

NATO forces said Thursday that they had unwittingly killed several women and children a day earlier during an early morning air attack against militants in a remote corner of eastern Afghanistan. The American-led coalition also said it was investigating separate reports of civilian deaths in a nearby province. The fatal airstrike on Wednesday in Khost Province, which Afghan officials say killed eight children and two women.

On Sunday, three NATO soldiers and three policemen were killed in bomb and insurgent attacks in the restive south and east of Afghanistan.

Four U.S. soldiers have been killed this week as Operation Enduring Disaster continues in Afghanistan and IRaq. One died of wounded suffered when insurgents attached his unit with a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) in Khowst. Another died Friday in south Afghanistan. Two US soldiers died in Baghdad on Thursday when their patrol was attacked by an IED.

Seven deminers kidnapped in western Afghanistan have been beheaded by their abductors, police said Sunday. The seven were part of a group of 28 deminers who were snatched on Wednesday in a district that is the focus of the Taliban insurgency in Farah province.

A NATO helicopter crashed Thursday in eastern Afghanistan but no one was hurt.

In Iraq, amass grave with some 900 bodies, believed to be Kurds killed during Saddam Hussein's rule in the 1980s, was found buried in trenches at the local cemetery of al-Amharri in al-Shanafiyah. Militants attacked a minor oil pipeline, halting the flow into a gathering facility in Mosul on Sunday.

The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed a $649 billion defense spending bill that boosts the Pentagon budget for FY 2012 by $17 billion and covers the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vote was 336-87 and reflected lawmakers' intent to ensure continue to waste trillions of dollars on military and war. The overall bill must be reconciled with a still-to-be-completed Senate version. posted 10 July, 2011

3 US troops dead in Iraq, 5 in Afghanistan; Kabul Intercontinental attacked

The U.S.-led war in Iraq continues unabated as June was the deadliest month for American soldiers in that country in two years. Fifteen U.S. soldiers died in Iraq in June, including three who were killed in a rocket attack on their base in southern Iraq. Elsewhere in Iraq, gunmen killed five Iraqi policemen in a Sunday attack in Rutba and another policeman in southwestern Bagdad. A roadside bomb blast killed one civilian and wounded another near the northern city of Kirkuk. A family was kidnapped in Ramadi on Saturday.

In Afghanistan, One U.S. soldier was killed Thursday and another one on Friday. A Marine from New Braunfels, Texas was killed in a firefight on Tuesday. The young man was only 10 years old when the U.S. invaded in 2001. A Marine was wounded early Sunday and an Afghan national army soldier was killed in a shooting incident at a base guard post while the two were standing watch together at Camp Jackson in Sangin. The military also reported an additional dead soldier from last Sunday. More than 200 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan already this year. An Italian soldier was killed on Saturday.

A bomb blast apparently targeting a police post near the parliament building in Kabul on Sunday injured three officers.

The blast follows a major Taliban attack at a landmark hotel in Kabul on Thursday in which 24 people were killed and more than a dozen wounded at one of the most secure places in Afghanistan. Thirteen people were killed when five suicide bombers and three gunmen stormed the hotel in an attack that lasted five hours and led to the destruction of much of the fanciest hotel in Afghanistan. The Taliban insurgents came prepared with suicide vests and rocket propelled grenades. In the end it took a coalition helicopter to blast the last holdouts off the roof . All the attackers died at the scene.

About 500 demonstrators chanted "Death to the Pakistan military!" and "Long live Afghanistan!" as they protested in Kabul on Saturday against rocket attacks that have killed at least 36 civilians, including 12 children, along the eastern border with Pakistan in recent weeks.

At least thirteen civilians, including women and children, were killed after their vehicle was struck by an IED in the Shamulzai district of Zabul province late on Saturday. In neighboring Kandahar province, two people riding a donkey were killed Friday night when the animal stepped on a bomb in Maruf district. When villagers came to recover the bodies, another roadside bomb went off and killed two more.

Militants attacked the checkpoint in the Karora area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan around midnight Saturday, killing three policemen and wounding one more. Unidentified gunmen abducted a Swiss couple in southwest Pakistan, the Swiss Foreign ministry said Saturday. Six NATO oil tankers were destroyed in a Sunday attack in Herat. posted 03 July, 2011

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posted 19 September 2010

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