Papers: Leaked documents show unreported Afghan deaths, fears about insurgencyBy Kimberly Dozier, AP
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Papers: Leaks show unreported Afghan deaths
WASHINGTON — Some 90,000 leaked U.S. military records amount to an blow-by-blow account of six years of the Afghanistan war, including unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings as well as covert operations against Taliban figures, two newspapers and a magazine with access to the documents reported Sunday.
The online whistle-blower organization Wikileaks was planning to post the documents on its website Sunday. The New York Times, London’s Guardian newspaper and the German weekly Der Spiegel were given early access to the documents.
The Times said the documents — including classified cables and assessments between military officers and diplomats — describe U.S. fears that ally Pakistan’s intelligence service was actually aiding the Afghan insurgency.
According to the Times, the documents suggest Pakistan “allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.”
The Guardian, however, interpreted the documents differently, saying they “fail to provide a convincing smoking gun” for complicity between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban.
The Guardian report focuses instead on documents that it said reveal “how a secret ‘black’ unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for kill or capture without trial” and “how the U.S. covered up evidence that the Taliban has acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.”
Der Spiegel, meanwhile, reported that the records show Afghan security officers as helpless victims of Taliban attacks.
The magazine said the documents show a growing threat in the north, where German troops are stationed.
It says the reports are clearer than what the German government tells Parliament, describing the security situation in the north as continuously getting worse and including concrete warnings about imminent attacks.
One U.S. official said the Obama administration was aware of the impending document release and had already told Pakistani and Afghan officials what to expect, in order to head off some of the more embarrassing revelations.
Another U.S. official said it may take days to comb through all the documents to see what they mean to the U.S. war effort and determine their potential damage to national security. That official added that the U.S. isn’t certain who the source of the leaked documents is.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to comment on the release of classified material.