The web site Wikileaks has released 92,000 documents related to the Afghanistan War, many of them classified, that paint a bleak picture of the ongoing war.
From the Times’ summary:
• The Taliban have used portable heat-seeking missiles against allied aircraft, a fact that has not been publicly disclosed by the military. This type of weapon helped the Afghan mujahedeen defeat the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.
• Secret commando units like Task Force 373 — a classified group of Army and Navy special operatives — work from a “capture/kill list” of about 70 top insurgent commanders. These missions, which have been stepped up under the Obama administration, claim notable successes, but have sometimes gone wrong, killing civilians and stoking Afghan resentment.
• The military employs more and more drone aircraft to survey the battlefield and strike targets in Afghanistan, although their performance is less impressive than officially portrayed. Some crash or collide, forcing American troops to undertake risky retrieval missions before the Taliban can claim the drone’s weaponry.
• The Central Intelligence Agency has expanded paramilitary operations inside Afghanistan. The units launch ambushes, order airstrikes and conduct night raids. From 2001 to 2008, the C.I.A. paid the budget of Afghanistan’s spy agency and ran it as a virtual subsidiary.
The documents also suggest that Pakistan, an ally of the U.S.,helped to guide the insurgency and sent spies to meet secretly with the Taliban to plot against American forces.
The White House has responded harshly, calling the release “irresponsible.”
“The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security,” National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones said in a statement. “Wikileaks made no effort to contact us about these documents - the United States government learned from news organizations that these documents would be posted.”
Jones’ statement goes on to say that the leaked reports are nearly all dated before President Obama announced his Afghan War strategy.
“On December 1, 2009, President Obama announced a new strategy with a substantial increase in resources for Afghanistan, and increased focus on al Qaeda and Taliban safe-havens in Pakistan, precisely because of the grave situation that had developed over several years,” he said.
Pakistan’s spy agency has also denied the reports.
According to the Washington Post, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange called the leak “the nearest analogue to the Pentagon Papers.” Assange has not identified the source of the documents.
Assange also said the documents provide evidence of possible war crimes perpetrated by the American forces.