American online newspaper Wikileaks, which specializes in publication of secret documents and information obtained as a result of “leakages,” has disclosed intelligence reports on the conflict in Afghanistan. These documents accumulated over the past six years of the military operation that killed over three hundred British and over a thousand U. S. military.
Such a leak can seriously affect the public's attitude to this conflict, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The U.S. media compared the leak to the legendary publication of Pentagon Papers in 1971. The release of the information then greatly exacerbated Americans’ distrust of the U.S. administration policy at the time and had been an icon of the antiwar movement for many years.
Some observers compare the current information scandal to the famous journalistic investigation of the 1970s. Then the information was released regarding the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. military at a Vietnam village of My Lai-Maylay. But today's leak is much more significant and serious as it has to do not only with the Americans, but with their European allies from the international coalition as well.
There was a reason why Wikileaks gave these documents to three leading publications - The New York Times, The Guardian and German weekly Der Spiegel.
Some unpleasant aspects of the war in Afghanistan became known to the general public just at the time when the Afghan strategy adopted by U.S. President Barack Obama came under heavy criticism.
The documents published by the media show that the forces of the international coalition are losing the war in Afghanistan. During combat operations the military kill hundreds of civilians. The number of attacks by the Taliban is increasing, and the commanders of NATO forces fear that Pakistan and Iran deliberately maintain instability in the region.
The White House administration strongly condemned the actions of Wikileaks owners who made public unfavorable truth about the war in Afghanistan, which became the longest military campaign in the U.S. history.
The statement made on behalf of Barack Obama's National Security General James Jones said that the publication of these documents may threaten the lives of Americans, the U.S. partners, as well as the country's national security.
The White House stressed that the owners of Wikileaks made no attempt to contact the U.S. authorities regarding the secret documents. This statement contradicts the statement made by another official representative of the U.S. authorities that the White House was aware of the impending publication and warned its Afghan and Pakistani partners.
What made the National Security Advisor worry?
Some secret documents lead to the conclusion that Pakistani intelligence services were actively helping the Taliban. According to this information, the Pakistani intelligence officers secretly met with representatives of the Taliban and discussed plans for waging war against the Americans and their allies, including use of suicide bombers and killings of Afghan leaders.
One report dated December of 2006 indicates that the Pakistani intelligence officials supervised a network of shahid training camps in Afghanistan (also used for planning attacks on NATO forces).The documents also indicate that Pakistan has repeatedly acted as an ally and enemy simultaneously. It was assisted by Iran in conducting anti-American campaign.
According to The Guardian, secret documents provide detail description of a number of other episodes that the military would most likely prefer to keep secret. Among other things, there is information about the actions of secret “black” units that hunt for Taliban leaders to “kill or capture” them without trial. Also, the documents show that coalition forces have used unmanned aircrafts controlled from a military base in Nevada to hunt down and destroy the Taliban.
What should be done with these explosive documents? Secret records, which became the basis for the media materials about the cooperation of the Taliban and Pakistani intelligence, were mostly compiled by junior officers who used data obtained from informants and Afghan officials. A top retired U.S. military called the reports “rumors, nonsense and outdated information.” This is why they were ignored by senior officers of the American intelligence and have not been transferred to a higher level of command, British Guardian reports.
However, the so-called mix of “rumors, nonsense and outdated information” about the Pakistani intelligence’s contacts with the Taliban had previously repeatedly leaked to the press. New documents shed light on the Taliban's use of portable air defense systems (MANPADS). The forces of the Afghan resistance efficiently used MANPADS Stinger against the Soviet Union army 1980.
Stingers, as we know, are supplied to the mujahideen by the Americans. Nevertheless, in recent years the Pentagon has never publicly acknowledged that the Taliban owns such weapons. Moreover, in the summer of 2007, the Speaker of the NATO has publicly denied the words of witnesses saying that an American helicopter was put down by a similar rocket (the crash has killed five Americans, a British and a Canadian). The documents released by WikiLeaks clearly state that the military knew that the Taliban had MANPADS possibly supplied from the Pakistani arsenal.
The Ambassador of Pakistan to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani has firmly denied information about his country's intelligence’s cooperation with the Taliban. He called the information published by WikiLeaks one-sided comments and rumors which frequently appear on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border and are often false.
At the same time, The New York Times emphasized that the authorities did not question the authenticity of the information released by journalists. The official statement of the White House acknowledged that the chaos depicted by the released secret documents took place prior to the start of Barack Obama’s new Afghan strategy.
The statement stressed that the documents relate to the period between 2004 and 2009.
It is unlikely that the situation in the Afghan war has become favorable for the international coalition since the beginning of this year. The White House does not want to admit that the fights in Afghanistan repeat the scenario of the dirty war in Vietnam. Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan only delays the agony of that futile operation that cannot be saved by UN mandates, the infusion of billions of dollars, or an increase in troops.
America and its allies are tired of war, which is not the case with the Taliban that sees the war as the meaning of life.