Documents show Afghan war fears

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.

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 posted 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 White House swiftly condemned the document disclosure, saying it “put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk.”

In a statement, White House national security adviser Gen. Jim Jones took pains to point out that the documents describe a period from January 2004 to December 2009, during the administration of President George W. Bush.

That was before “President Obama announced a new strategy with a substantial increase in resources for Afghanistan, and increased focus on al-Qaida and Taliban safe havens in Pakistan, precisely because of the grave situation that had developed over several years,” Jones said.

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.

Jones on Sunday lauded a deeper partnership between the U.S. and Pakistan, saying, “Counter-terrorism co-operation has led to significant blows against al-Qaida’s leadership.” Still, he called on Pakistan to continue its “strategic shift against insurgent groups.”

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.

The classified documents are largely what’s called “raw intelligence” — reports from junior officers in the field that analysts use to advise policymakers, rather than any high-level government documents that states U.S. government policy.

While the documents provide a glimpse of a world the public rarely sees, the overall picture they portray is already familiar to most Americans.

U.S. officials have already publicly denounced Pakistani officials’ co-operation with some insurgents, like the Haqqani network in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The success of U.S. special operating forces teams at taking out Taliban targets has been publicly lauded by U.S. military and intelligence officials. And just-resigned Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was leading the Afghan war effort, made protecting Afghan civilians one of the hallmarks of his command, complaining that too many Afghans had been accidentally killed by Western firepower.

One U.S. official said the Obama administration had already told Pakistani and Afghan officials what to expect from the document release., 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.

U.S. government agencies have been bracing for the release of thousands more classified documents since the leak of a classified helicopter cockpit video of a 2007 firefight in Baghdad. That leak was blamed on a U.S. Army intelligence analyst working in Iraq.

Spc. Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was arrested in Iraq and charged earlier this month with multiple counts of mishandling and leaking classified data, after a former hacker turned him in. Manning had bragged to the hacker, Adrian Lamo, that he had downloaded 260,000 classified or sensitive State Department cables and transmitted them by computer to the website Wikileaks.org.

Lamo turned Manning in to U.S. authorities, saying he couldn’t live with the thought that those released documents might get someone killed.

———

AP reporter Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed to this report.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says she has not received an official request from any other school board for a similar move to online learning. (Advocate file photo)
’Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

School boards can ask to move online for a number of reasons

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Coordination Center of the Russian Government in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The centre was set up as a line of communication with the whole of Russia for analysing and collecting information, promptly using big data and solving arising problems. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Months after hack, US poised to announce sanctions on Russia

First retaliatory action against the Kremlin for last year’s hack

An Uber Eats delivery person carries items near the Japan National Stadium, where opening ceremony and other events are planned for postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with engravings in honor of 1964 Tokyo Olympics seen on the side of the stadium wall behind the fence Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tokyo. Two top officials of Japan’s ruling LDP party on Thursday, April 15, 2021, said radical changes could be coming to the Tokyo Olympics. One went as far to suggest they still could be canceled, and the other that even if they proceed, it might be without any fans.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Officials say Olympic cancellation, no fans still an option

COVID-19 cases have been rising across Japan

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2020 file photo, co-directors Jim LeBrecht, left, and Nicole Newnham, center, from the documentary “Crip Camp” pose with film subject Judith Heumann during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The disabled have a moment in the Oscar spotlight that they hope becomes a movement. LeBrecht, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, says a golden age for disabled films could come if Hollywood lets them tell their own stories. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
The disabled hope their Oscar moment can become a movement

Traditionally the disabled appear only when an actor seeking an Oscar-worthy role plays one on screen

FILE - Diane Warren poses for a portrait at the 90th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Feb. 5, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Warren is nominated for an Oscar for best original song for her work in “The Life Ahead” starring Sophia Loren. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
12-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren hopes for ‘awesome’ win

Third movie adaptation of the 1975 Romain Gary novel ‘The Life Before Us’

opinion
Opinion: Waiting 4 months between vaccine doses too long

“It’s not just a matter of potency, it’s a matter of the… Continue reading

Richie Laryea of Toronto FC, left, and Jean Meneses of Mexico's Leon battle for the ball during a CONCACAF Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, in Leon, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Toronto FC hosts Club Leon in the second leg of their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League round-of-16 tie holding a valuable away goal after a 1-1 draw last week in Mexico. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mario Armas
Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Winnipeg Jets' Dylan DeMelo (2) skates the puck around Ottawa Senators' Thomas Chabot (72) as he holds off Winnipeg Jets' Mason Appleton (22) during first-period NHL action in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

John Furlong pitches a broader B.C. bid for 2030 Winter Games

John Furlong pitches a broader B.C. bid for 2030 Winter Games

Most Read