[AfrICANN-discuss] Thousands of 'Secret' Afghan War Files Released on Internet

Mamadou LO alfamamadou at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 26 16:22:09 SAST 2010

U.S. and Pakistani officials are condemning the publication of leaked documents that are said to be secret U.S. military files about the Afghanistan war.

The website WikiLeaks posted tens of thousands of documents online Sunday, and said it has another 15,000 documents that will be released "as the security situation in Afghanistan permits."  It says the files cover the period between January 2004 and December 2009.

White House National Security Advisor James Jones issued a statement calling the leaks "irresponsible," saying they not only put the lives of Americans and their partners at risk, but also threaten national security.

Thousands of 'Secret' Afghan War Files Released on Internet



The leaked documents are said to include records detailing raids carried out by a secretive U.S. special operations unit against what U.S. officials call "high-value" insurgent and terrorist targets.  Some of the raids are said to have resulted in unintended killings of Afghan civilians.

Also included are documents allegedly describing U.S. fears that Pakistan's intelligence service was aiding the Afghan insurgency.

Jones said WikiLeaks made no effort to contact the U.S. government, which learned about the release from news organizations.  Those include The New York Times, London's Guardian newspaper and the German weekly Der Spiegel.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the U.S., Hussain Haqqani, insisted his country is fully committed to fighting Islamic insurgents.  He said the released documents do not reflect current on-the-ground realities.  

National Security Advisor Jones noted that former U.S. President George W. Bush was in office during the bulk of the period between January 2004 and December 2009.  Jones said that on December 1, 2009, President Barack Obama announced a new strategy with a substantial increase in resources for Afghanistan and a focus on al-Qaida and Taliban safe havens in Pakistan.  

He said the shift in strategy was precisely because of the grave situation that had developed over several years.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange compared the leaked files to the Pentagon Papers -- a top-secret report about the Vietnam War that had been ordered by then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.  The report was first published by The New York Times and helped shift public opinion about the Vietnam War.

In April, WikiLeaks posted a video of a 2007 helicopter attack in Iraq that killed an Iraqi journalist and his driver.  The U.S. military has charged 22-year-old Army specialist Bradley Manning with leaking the video to the website.  He was detained in June after allegedly boasting about his exploits to a former hacker during an online conversation.

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