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Will the Afghanistan leaks affect security?

02:53 UK time, Monday, 26 July 2010

More than 90,000 leaked US military records have been published on the website Wikileaks, reportedly revealing hidden details of the Afghanistan war. What will be the implications of these leaks?

Three major news publications which have been shown the documents say they include unreported killings of Afghan civilians. They also reveal Nato concerns that neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are helping Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The White House has said that such classified information could put the lives of Americans at risk, and threaten national security, while the Pakistani ambassador in Washington said the "unprocessed" reports did "not reflect the current onground realities".

Do the leaks help the understanding of the Afghanistan war? Do they affect the security of the troops on the ground? Do you trust leaked and unprocessed information?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    It seems the Taliban are being funded by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the U.S Government are funding ISI.

    It's really about time the U.S Government cut off the funding to the ISI, so that war money can't be money-laundered to the Taliban.

  • Comment number 2.

    Unless the vault of Pentagon is dished out, otherwise take it with a pinch of salt. Anyway, Wikileaks sounds like a good avenue for the pent-up souls to air the dirty laundry of their wilful and abnoxious supervisors.

  • Comment number 3.

    Leakers in China Russia or the other totalitarian enemies of freedom are quietly executed. But here in the civilized open coutries we allow a free press to operate and we can not execute the leakers. Our enemies use our freedom and openess against us and there appear to be no shortage of Traitors willing to spill our most closely guarded secrets.

  • Comment number 4.

    I sincerely hope the leaked reports do not compromise the safety of ALL troops serving in Afghanistan. Do I trust the inegrity of the reports? Well after all the official info about Iraq WMD's, why not?

  • Comment number 5.

    Civilians have died in this war since 2001, and literally in all other wars we've encountered in this world. It's not justifiable and it's horrible. The intentions of the ones who have posted these videos I believe are to harm the great effort and achievements of the NATO forces in Afghanistan. We shouldn't forget what happened in New York in 2001, in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005.

  • Comment number 6.

    Afghans already know they are being killed by American, British and other Nato soldiers who are infidels. No surprise to them so the security situation won't change.

  • Comment number 7.

    It looks as though the fact that this information has been leaked is a bigger news story than the information itself.

    Of course there are special operations to kill or capture senior insurgents. It's a war stupid. That's what you do in a war. During WW2 there were attempts to kill Hitler. Is that shocking news?

  • Comment number 8.

    Broadly speaking the leaks are unwarranted and uncalled for. But then again it lends the ongoing war a semblance of transparency. As they say, everything is fair in love and war. Mistakes are made and the country should learn not to repeat them in future. For US security is a great concern and efforts should be made to plug all such leaks in the ongoing war.

  • Comment number 9.

    The people on the ground know what's happening, so do the enemies. Why worry about these leaks?
    We want the truth and stand for it, so it helps our cause! An open society is what we stand for - nothing to hide!

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh dear, first the US don't encrypt the signals of their UAV's which enabled the Insurgents to gain invaluable data using a piece of software that costs 15 quid or so and now this. Is the US taking this war seriously?

  • Comment number 11.

    There is nothing new about Pakistan or ISI.

  • Comment number 12.

    5. At 04:09am on 26 Jul 2010, Diamond wrote:

    Civilians have died in this war since 2001, and literally in all other wars we've encountered in this world. It's not justifiable and it's horrible. The intentions of the ones who have posted these videos I believe are to harm the great effort and achievements of the NATO forces in Afghanistan. We shouldn't forget what happened in New York in 2001, in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    I agree, we should not forget what happened, but remember what happened in Madrid and London was a direct result of ours and Spain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must also remember that Afghanistan was not involved in the terrible events in New York in 2001.

  • Comment number 13.

    Do the leaks help the understanding of the Afghanistan war?
    I don't believe that anyone really understands why we are still there anymore. Not a genuine reason anyway, the supposed goal keeps changing, now it seems more about "saving face".

    Do they affect the security of the US and the soldiers on the ground?
    If they do then the soldiers should be withdrawn. "Security" is no reason to lie to people - foreign and domestic. If the truth about what they are doing is too painful - stop doing it. If the mission is the most important thing - accept the ugly truth and get on with it. Denial and propaganda serves no peoples best interests except those people at the top.

    Do you trust leaked and unprocessed information?
    More than I trust the glossed over information we receive filtered through the military, government or conservative (small c) media. It is refreshing to have to reach ones own conclusions in this day rather than have an opinion thrust upon you before you could even read the evidence.

  • Comment number 14.

    5. At 04:09am on 26 Jul 2010, Diamond wrote:
    "We shouldn't forget what happened in New York in 2001, in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005"

    I agree, we shouldn't. We should remember those we lost, honour them and continue our lives as normal. To make any allowances to terrorists - even by way of living our lives more scared and surrendering freedoms in the name of "security" - means they have succeeded in harming our society. The only way to defeat terrorism is to not let them scare us. That doesn't mean you cannot retaliate, but that when you do you do it for logical reasons, with an ordered plan and not a scared knee jerk response.

    Thank "the great theismo" that Wikileaks - and many others - believe that the truth is more important than opinion. I think there should be a policy of supplying the raw data as well as the processed article at the end, how else are we ever to trust "professional" analysis if we can't see what is being analysed?

  • Comment number 15.

    These leaks were done to influence public opinion against the war and I suspect there will be some bloodshed directly caused by the publication, on one side, the other, or both.The participating media outlets will do the Pontius Pilate routine with skill and grace.

  • Comment number 16.

    "People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an
    election." -Otto Von Bismarck.
    I think unreported civilian death should surprise only the naive.

  • Comment number 17.

    WikiLeaks is only doing what the so-called "free press" should have done (but failed to do) over the past 9 years. True democracy can't be hurt by the truth, only by the lies & cover-ups. Good on them, I say.

  • Comment number 18.

    The leaking of secret documents is a threat to the national security, the soldiers who are in the ground in enemy territory and to everyone who is trying to get some kind of cessation of violence from the Taliban and other factions. Whoever did leak these reports was probably thinking about it in his/her narrow thinking of ending the war and bringing the troops back home, the truth is that the mission is not finished, any time the troops come back it will be a victory for the terrorists and failure for the people who want peace and prosperity for all human beings.

  • Comment number 19.

    "Will the Afghanistan leaks affect security?" (HYS):

    'Wikileaks' should only be treated for what they are - self-serving 'gossip' and dogma - UNTIL proven.

    There are too many HR & PC lovers that seek only to weaken our own basic common-sense and ideals. Most of them are only seeking publicity for themselves - not others. Any of these 'do-gooders' who give out FALSE information should be treated with VERY heavy sentences.
    They are acting very close to Treason in many cases...

  • Comment number 20.

    WikiLeaks likes to pretend they are doing us all a service by revealing the truth, but how can we trust what they tell us? Does this organisation have a monopoly on the truth?

    Propaganda is part of the weaponry of war and for all we know there are as many items of misinformation among these revelations as there are facts.

    Have each of these 90,000 items been scrutinised and are they positive that revealing them won't put lives at risk?

    Contrast this kind of amateurish journalism with the article in the Sunday Times yesterday in which we learnt of how the Taliban capture, torture, and behead interpreters.

  • Comment number 21.

    As long as they do not leak secrets,that put the Troops on the Ground at
    Risk,i think it is ok. They should Only leak what is done wrong --like killing more or less accidently Civilians,killings by Friendly Fire,only
    things like that--and whatthe Military and Goverment are tring to cover up.
    Do i trust this leaks? Ofcourse not 100%,there are always some who have no Qualms to put missleading info.

  • Comment number 22.

    It has been almost impossible to publicise acts of atrocity carried out against civilians in this war due to press restrictions. The electorate need to know the truth in order to form an opinion.

  • Comment number 23.

    The media in Afghanistan are being paid for polishing a tuurd.

    Wiki won't change anything, especially since some of the information will be deliberate misinformation released as part of the information war.

    The Russians know better than to get entangled in Afghanistan.
    We know better too, but Washington tells us what to do at the moment so our young people die in a pointless waste of resources.

  • Comment number 24.

    The BBC and other Western liberal media outlets negativity of the war and constant reminder of are casualties whilst never mentioning enemies loses is the main factor we will never win.

    We could win a thousand battles but how BBC spins it we sounds like we lose.

    I pay an enforced tax for media outlet that supports the enemy.

  • Comment number 25.

    "Do you trust leaked and unprocessed information?"

    I trust Wikileaks a damn site more than I trust the American and British authorities.

  • Comment number 26.

    I trust this unprocessed information more than the processed information of CNN, Fox News, BBC etc. The mainstream media "news" tends to be a string of government press releases i.e. not much better than Pravda or Radio East Berlin was.
    The more the people are aware of the reality of the situation in Afghanistan/Iraq etc the sooner the troops security will be improved because they will be brought home and we will cease this ridiculous "war on terror".

  • Comment number 27.

    Not one bit.
    Finally the truth has been exposed to the dismay of the deniers. Afghanis and Pakistanis have been complaining of the atrocities but they were shunned as lies. The weak can weep and bleed but the world is insensitive to their plight. In the words of John Quincy Adams, who said the Latin Americans were clearly inferior. The area is often dismissed as backward, poor and weak and its citizens ridiculed as in ept, corrupt, slavish. In short these nations have typically been disparaged as the "banana republics." Similarly, the people of Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan are categorized as the scum of the earth, without condidering colonalism brought them down.
    Hiding facts and massaging news is an not new. How much is kept hidden from the public and perverted news and views fill the papers, no one knows.
    US says the leak has endangered Americsn lives, without mentioning the lives of coalusion forces, not to mention millions of lives of Iraqis and Afghanis.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    NATO forces ought to concentrate on isolating Pakistan and completely seal off its border with Afghanistan who has been supporting Talibans for years. Strangely both Britain and America have been pouring millions of $s to 'help' Pakistan to overcome its problems and this is exactly proving counterproductive.

    Pakistan has failed as a State and ought to be dismantled otherwise the whole region could be in worst trouble unseen so far. ACT NOW!!

  • Comment number 30.

    GOOD - a refreshing whiff of honesty, or are we meant to accept this phoney "war on tewwor" from the biggest terrorists on the planet?
    Not in our name - troops out now.

  • Comment number 31.

    The leaks cannot possibly compromise or endanger the troops, to suggest this is just one more case of justifying what is essentially censorship of the realities of this occupation. The deaths of civilians in particular is a truth that must be known by the world, to sanitize both the Afghanistan and Iraq occupations via selective 'news' is why (supposedly) democratic nations continue to allow their politicians to spend huge sums of taxpayers money and the lives of their soldiers for this farce which is in reality no more than a business venture paid for by those same citizens of the occupying nations under a very thin veil of 'legitimate' justification..... a theater of the sickly and dangerously absurd to say the least!

  • Comment number 32.

    They also reveal Nato concerns that neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are helping Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

    Great, let's have a war with them too.

  • Comment number 33.

    This is a great service that Wiki leaks are providing. They provide information that our governments do not want us to know. Of course they will tell you wiki Leaks is bad for your lives, they tell us lots of things, but in reality they are just covering their own asses as they know what they are doing is not only criminal it is illegal, and their corrupt plans to completely control us rely on the people being uneducated and uninterested in such things so that they can just walk over us, tell us what's best for us. Make sure you support wiki leaks and never give into government.

    I hate this "Democracy" I live in (England). A Democracy by nature is the worst and most dangerous type of government. It equals the majority ruling the minority, 51% of people ruling 49%, but these days it's not like our votes really matter. Labour, conservative or even lib dem. These monkeys are all spanked by the same masters. No choice any more the banks control our government and unless we stand up soon and fight these banks they will swallow all our money to form one world bank.

    Search for it


    Make sure you do your research MAKE SURE, it is so important that everyone who can, educates them selves on this because no media outlet will.

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  • Comment number 34.

    I don't believe it will have serious implications for the troops serving there, though it may affect some of the civilian leaders in villages, etc.

    It will have major political implications on relationships with and within Pakistan and Iraq - but those are conversations that it appears are absolutely necessary if we're going to find a way out of the forsaken place.

  • Comment number 35.

    "War is hell the best thing about any war, is when the troops come home"

  • Comment number 36.

    If these civilian deaths had occurred in Gaza or Palestine,the UN security council would immediately have met to condemn Israel. How come the US, UK and others aren't brought to account for these deaths?

  • Comment number 37.

    When Terrorist hide behind the pupulation and use women and kids as shields, what to do?

  • Comment number 38.

    Alex jones

  • Comment number 39.

    Afghans don't need leaks to inform of Civilian deaths. It is difficult to find a Family who haven't lost members to NATO's disregard for their Lives. With such regularity we've become so Desensitised to the abomination that media disdain to present the Snuffing of Innocents as Headlines. Only yesterday another Forty-Five were killed by MISTAKE without much ado.

    The Leaks are probably driven by Conscience, the one thing Military Conditioning cannot erase.
    How would we re-act to a series of OOPS for Loved-Ones wasted?

  • Comment number 40.

    Twin Towers, the London Bombings, all involved civilians. Why worry about the deaths, do they actually make any difference in the war of the middle east

  • Comment number 41.

    Wikileaks, we shoud do a China on them and get them off the internet. Freedom of information must have a caviat of responsibility.

  • Comment number 42.

    Surely the leaks are just exposing the failings of the military in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 43.

    Come bet with me, I say.

    The "leak" is a Pentagon plot to prolong the war and to distract world opinion and keep stupid of us debate while Afghans are slaughtered like cabbage on a slit-pad non-stop.

    The US needs to kill in wars people outside of its shore to assure that it is doing "everything" to the safety and security of its people within its shores. That is a lesson the US has learned from the Lobby ruling it. 90% of US administration is filled in by the AIPAC Irguns.

    What else the US as an "independent" nation could do?

  • Comment number 44.

    "We must also remember that Afghanistan was not involved in the terrible events in New York in 2001"

    Uhm, wow? In the same way as Germany wasn't involved in the events of WW2?

    Kinda depends on your definition really - the general population of course not at all, but the people running the show, in collusion with Al Qaeda directly, and not by a thin thread..

    Funding, support both moral and material. I don't see how you separate the two.

    As for how dangerous this data is to boots on the ground, it ends at the end of 2009 anyways, though that said the US mil clearly has a leak it might want to consider plugging - didn't they say they got the guy involved? Maybe not....

  • Comment number 45.

    Just to follow up on my last comment, I see somebody mentioning that apparently it's because we went after them not because they kicked it all off, in fact long before 2001.

    I should mention, I just saw a headline "The TV channel Al Jazeera is reporting that a French hostage held by al-Qaeda militants in the Sahara has been killed" - so that's working out well for the French I guess.

    They want you dead because they want you dead. Just because you don't understand it doesn't actually make it not true.

  • Comment number 46.

    Amazing! When Israel, which is engaged in a continual self defence struggle, against enemies who stop at nothing, kills civilians (inadvertantly) there is an immediate outcry, U.N. commisions are set up,
    boycotts are called for, warrants are sought after for politicians and
    army commanders.
    But when American and British troops (and other NATO soldiers) do far worse
    things (see the latest reports on the attack on an Afghan village) no one says a thing! And it's not even sure that they have any right to be there!
    Seer hypocracy!

  • Comment number 47.

    It is interesting to read the previous comments on the leaks, it that they virtually all condemn the leaks but do not comment on the issues within the leaks, that is the mess that America and its allies are making in Afghanistan, again we never learn from history, unfortunately America feels it can go to any country bomb it and problems will be solved. Unfortunately we follow them, stating that we need to sort the terrorists out. Can anybody tell me how many terrorist attacks we had on our country (apart from the IRA) before we attached Irag, how many terrorists attacks have Switzerland had or Sweden, Norway, Finland, Holland do I need to go on. In my opinion it is about time we unplugged ourselves from Americas backside, let them get on with world domination, leave them to it, see how long it lasts.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm struck by comments that criticise the disclosure of information about the killing of innocent civilians. Since our government got us into this illegal war, tens of thousands of non-combatants - not to mention the troops obeying the orders of fools and knaves - have died for nothing. The cavalier attitude of US and UK military commands towards civilians in harm's way is nothing short of disgraceful. And parallels drawn with the callous attitudes of the Vietnam war are unavoidable.

    When murder has been committed - and bombing or rocketing innocents is surely murder - it cannot be swept under the carpet with sickeningly anodyne statements such as 'we are terribly sorry.' or 'accidents do happen'.

    If someone within the Pentagon has had the nuts to make public documentation that tells the truth about civilian deaths, (s)he should be applauded, not vilified. Politicians love to boast about the 'successes' of the forces under their command. Is it not right that they should also face opprobrium for the failures that result in murder?

    One 'accidental' killing of civilians may indeed be accidental. Regular 'accidents' at best show a callous disregard for human life, and demonstrate that the pious statements of our politicians who use words like 'liberty' and 'democracy' and 'humanity' are so much hypocrisy and cant. At worst, are they not war crimes?

  • Comment number 49.

    14. At 04:54am on 26 Jul 2010, Just_Ady wrote:

    Thank "the great theismo" that Wikileaks - and many others - believe that the truth is more important than opinion. I think there should be a policy of supplying the raw data as well as the processed article at the end, how else are we ever to trust "professional" analysis if we can't see what is being analysed?


    Exactly right. The truth is more important than opinion.
    The reasons behind our involvement in Iraq/Aghanistan is less than clear, and seeing as we 'fight on the side of truth' then surely the coalition forces have nothing to hide, right?

  • Comment number 50.

    Why are we still at war in this country ? I have been brought up to understand that its ok if you are actually fighting for your country. So with this in mind, there must be something that our wonderful leaders are not telling us !

  • Comment number 51.

    #46 Shlomo
    Your comments are only valid if one accepts the creed of Zionism which states that it's fine to steal someones else's land and property on the grounds that someone related to yourself in some obscure fashion lived in that region 2000 years ago. The Israelis are living on stolen land and if I were a Palestinian I would be fighting very hard to recover my possessions.
    If the Jews of the world want a homeland fine let them buy the land and live there in peace but don;t steal someone else's property.

  • Comment number 52.

    Why does the BBC try to hype up a wartime occurrence that by the admission of its own correspondent "reveals no dramatic new insights"?

    I grow weary of the media with its preoccupation with what might be, what could be and what patently isn't.

  • Comment number 53.

    How many of these covered up news story's were know by our media outlets? and to what extend have they collaborated with the War on terror agenda, torture and extraordinary rendition?

    So we are shoved and beaten by police if we protest, we are mis/half informed by OUR public broadcaster and we generously pay for both of these organisation.

    Hallo!!! do you need a pro scrutiny policy change? Maybe get rid of those MI's in your midst? rapido.

  • Comment number 54.

    Well, goodness me. It does beg the question 'what security' when the American army seem incapable of keeping mere paper, let alone troops in any degree of safety. I bet their loo-roll stash is secure under lock and key. The sheer volume of documentation allegedly involved makes me wonder if it's a set-up job. Troop security may be compromised, depending on the content of the 'unprocessed' (what does that mean exactly?) documents. Can't wait to see who's summoned to enter the arena for the gladiatorial entertainment of a frequently angered Obama. I think British troops should be pulled out immediately as a result of such carelessness.

  • Comment number 55.

    Whoa whoa whoa! Let's get real here............surely the slaughter of civilians is something we all should hear about! This is supposed to be a democracy! If this was Serbia or Russia or wherever conducting a similar 'war', the very same people complaining on this website would be howling for Human Rights trials! This is bloody ridiculous. If murder is being committed against innocent civilians, and undoubtedly it is, let us hear about it every day. We are inundated with pictures from Wooton Basset on a regular basis, let's hear and see the consequences of American and British
    actions against Afghan civilians. I am digusted.

  • Comment number 56.

    Brian is right, the undermining and critic of this released, unmolested information which is just too much for the media, has started with general stewart this morning, saying 'most of this news is old and not up to date'

    Well if that is old news, how come nobody told the world about it? why was this old news not disseminated at the time, and if it is as bad as the ususal commentators, who are ripping it now, say, then why was it not pulled up when it happened?
    Damage limitations in full swing. I'm sure Julian Assange will make sure that this information is not manipulated by the few who have got the priory news today.

    Why was the BBC not l;eaked to? an omen?

  • Comment number 57.


    The world peace is only possible in the absence of hostility, brutality and war, not just between countries and regions, but between individuals.

  • Comment number 58.

    High time that the 'EVIL' Americans starting getting a taste of their own bitter medicine. Keep it coming wikileaks - the yanks can't shut you down unless they want to branded evil 'COMMUNIST' Americans! HAhahahahahahahahahah

  • Comment number 59.

    Such leaks certainly can't help in understanding any war: conflicts are best understood by only those who are actually on the ground, and because of that such leaks don't have the potential to affect the security of the troops on the ground. However, such leaks fall in the realm of freedom of information, which is technically one of the foundations of democracy. One should not be allowed to exist without the other. In a world where conventional media can be manipulated such web leaks work as alternative sources of information. No one should trust unprocessed information, but that's where the human ability to analyze information can have a field day.

  • Comment number 60.

    Tell us something new? We all know that much of what goes on in conflict zones is either suppressed, hushed up or deliberately lied about. The military obey rules handed down by politicians sensitive to local or national issues that inevitably lead to incidents being buried in secrecy. These leaks eventually come out either by someone mouthing off, by party politics or simply someone messing up. The point is they come out usually when it is thought safe for release and no collateral damage emanates. Wrong! Whether we trust these leaks is another matter!

  • Comment number 61.

    Whatever, it will pass without any action or change. Jeez we all know of the war crimes and lies committed in the invasion of Iraq and those culprits have walked away. We support war crimes in Palestine without action, so whats going to change if the documents say the US tortured raped and looted afghans? do we not already know about haditha? Osamas american connections? Iraqi WMD's? Torturing? Israelis phosphorous? these are all war crimes ........... arent they?

  • Comment number 62.

    Wikileaks for Nobel Peace Prize. They certainly deserve it more than the last recipient.

  • Comment number 63.

    Good news!

    This has been a good year so far in learning all about the previously hidden dirty tricks and lies from both sides of the Atlantic.

    Bring it on I say, expose the whole rotten, festering mess of lies, distortions and misrepresentations perpetuated upon the world by people who have no right to have their dirty hands in the public purse.

    Make the miscreants pay.

  • Comment number 64.

    I have to admit that I do not fully comprehend the problem. First, these documents refer to events several years ago. The fighting, as I understand it, is seasonal and not against fixed positions of any kind - not unlike warfare in Europe 2,000 years ago, only with noisier versions of the bow and arrow. Intelligence in such an environment must have a shelf-life on-par with genuine French croissants - and for essentially the same reason - they're perfect when absolutely fresh but adding anything to make them last longer would destroy their value.

    The next issue I have is that the military schools of thought on which modern military tactics are based (this would include Art of War and Book of Five Rings) teach that you should never be predictable. If the insurgents haven't found a pattern to NATO tactics by now, they're not going to by reading these documents. Equally, if the insurgents haven't read those same books by now, they're not going to become geniuses by reading some field reports. What's more, if the Joint Chiefs of Staff haven't read the books, I'd be far more concerned about that than with whatever some insurgent is downloading off the Internet.

    At this point, I think I've pretty much established that there is no military value in these reports to either side - propaganda value, perhaps but no military value. They could not have been used directly to predict attacks by the insurgents and they could not have been used directly by insurgents to organize attacks. The last time battlefields and strategies stagnant enough for this kind of ancient history to have had value were all in World War I.

    There's the further issue that the Americans and British have replaced their top generals in the field, rendering previous philosophies redundant, and other nations have apparently been doing quite well stabilizing towns - a point not obviously lost on the Americans who are rethinking their approach. There's also been a large US buildup of men and equipment, at least some reorganization of posts, and doubtless other changes that leave any residual virtue (such as being able to guess available firepower in any given region) in no fit state for anything.

    Now, I said that the leaks have no military value but do have a propaganda value. There is a genuine danger that to the more remote communities, this will be played up as a reason to mistrust the Americans. It's hard to pay the modern version of weregild to the Afghan survivors of botched raids when you've denied the raids ever happened. It's even harder to convince people that the lack of news of fresh mess-ups is because there haven't been any, as opposed to hiding them better.

    Of course the insurgents are going to push that to the hilt. They can now present Americans as not only liars but cheapskate liars at that. That is not good for the US or for NATO. However, it is the only damage that can really be done with these reports as best as I can tell, and since the insurgents will have been saying all kinds of nasty gossip since the Taliban started fighting the Northern Alliance, it's unclear to me that one more piece is going to make a huge impact.

    If I was in charge of the US forces around about now, I'd probably be ignoring the information leak and spending a lot of time with Julius Caesar's histories. As grandiose, egocentric and blatantly disrespectful of anyone who wasn't him as he was, his understanding of this kind of scenario was unparalleled.

    I'd also be honing up my knowledge of other warlords of the past - there's more than a passing resemblance between people like Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan in terms of their understanding of speed, terror and using nearly impassable terrain in their favour. But historically it has always been possible to turn these strengths to weaknesses. The answers lie not on Wikileaks but the local library.

  • Comment number 65.

    People can be very irrational. They rage against their democratically elected governments, saying all official statements are propaganda and lies to justify some action they disapprove of. Yet they instantly accept as true allegedly leaked documents published on Wikileaks. Presumably the critical response to government, and the uncritical response to Wikileaks, is based solely on what they want to hear. Wikileaks is a bad thing for many reasons, and a good thing for no reason. For example, just because you want to know something is no reason why it would be good for you to discover it - curiosity killed the cat! Then, what is to stop the government providing Wikileaks with loads of spurious information - remember, you can't check the sources? Personally, I wouldn't believe anything I saw on Wikileaks. Finally, don't forget that, for all its faults, government is elected by you and chucked out by you - it consists of your representatives acting on your behalf - or else! Leaks of government business can only be damaging. Control of the timing of information disclosure is an essential management tool. Leaks could, for example, betray government plans prematurely to foreign powers, giving them an advantage over your armed forces.

  • Comment number 66.

    Yes, the leak may have a positive effect on security in Britain by shortening the war. The sooner we are out of there, the better.

  • Comment number 67.

    This is a terrible threat to national security. I hear Saddam Hussein, king of Afghanistan and architect of 9/11, can launch a nuclear and biological strike on the UK in only 4 minutes. Won't somebody think of the troops?

  • Comment number 68.

    44. At 07:47am on 26 Jul 2010, streaky wrote:
    "We must also remember that Afghanistan was not involved in the terrible events in New York in 2001"

    Uhm, wow? In the same way as Germany wasn't involved in the events of WW2?

    Kinda depends on your definition really - the general population of course not at all, but the people running the show, in collusion with Al Qaeda directly, and not by a thin thread..

    Funding, support both moral and material. I don't see how you separate the two.

    As for how dangerous this data is to boots on the ground, it ends at the end of 2009 anyways, though that said the US mil clearly has a leak it might want to consider plugging - didn't they say they got the guy involved? Maybe not....

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think you will find that The US financed Osama and his boys as well as the pakistani ISI which removed democratic pakistani governments........... ah and helped fund terrorism against India, but again we already knew that!

  • Comment number 69.

    Another lesson to politicians - no information can stay hidden for long anymore. If you still think that you can cover your machinations up for as long as it takes you to live out your lives comfortably - think again.

    For the generals - stop whining. No military operation can last more than a few weeks (or a couple of months at most). Beyond that time it either is a success or a failure. All of the leaked stuff is years old, so there is no impact on "safety".

  • Comment number 70.

    the trouble is about religion if troops came in to our country and tried to kill all of the christens for there beliefs would we allow it no. and that is what is happening really i know that a lot of Muslims are very peaceful people but some are fanatics who believe that what they do is in favour of god i suppose some christens are like that to fanatical but at the end of the day rather then shoot first and ask questions later which we the British and yanks are good at we should come round the table and ask what the taliban want and seek a compromise its the only way because force never solved anything.

  • Comment number 71.

    Why do we have such secret files in war...i.e hidden deaths of civilians and soldiers? Does the 'free peaceful democratic world' have to paint an unreal picture to make it look squeaky clean in order to show to show how immoral and disgusting the enemy is.

    Read the Communist manifesto by Marx and Engels, its principles could be issued by the Tory party nowadays! Yet,Communists were (and still are ) villified as bad boys?

    Previously there were 'Reds under the bed' and now the specter of 'Terrorist Attacks'.....this of course is nonsense but governments spin out these reasons to justify how good and electable they are in our free society.

    Northern Ireland should be an object lesson about ending war. When the secret weapons and secret files (no doubt) were destroyed so trust, justice and reason prevailed, then violence virtually ceased.

  • Comment number 72.

    Democracy in its purest form?
    Remember the Pentagon Papers over Vietnam?
    Probably shaped US policy for 20 years.

    MORE light is GOOD, not BAD for democracy.

  • Comment number 73.

    3. At 04:07am on 26 Jul 2010, ONE-SICK-PUPPY wrote:
    ...China Russia or the other totalitarian enemies of freedom...

    ------------------

    were you in Team America - World Police by any chance?

  • Comment number 74.

    This is irresponsible and damaging, because it will encourage and invigorate the anti-war and anti-American lobbies.
    Personally I don't think the US or UK should be fighting in Afghanistan, but if we're committed to fighting there we must aim to win and protect our troops. That means doing all kinds of nasty things which most people don't want to - and should not - hear about. Shouting about morals, conventions and human rights will weaken public resolve and demoralise our troops. But that's what will now happen.

  • Comment number 75.

    History repeats itself aka Vietnam v's Afghanistan well almost, any similar leaks took decades to filter out. Cyber space brings it almost as it happes, well relatively that is. Slightly ironic that cyber space was developed largely by US Military......

  • Comment number 76.

    America does not have $60 billion to play this little war game in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 77.

    Gotta love how the BBC helps the US government's smear campaign before reporting the facts. So much for being an unbiased news source.

  • Comment number 78.

    Another major c-ck up by the US putting our soldiers in danger thru the leaks of info comming out of the white house.
    Just another nail in the coffin of obama.
    With the CEO of BP being forced out due to the combination of weak willed BP and the will of Obama, why is the Brit Gov not demanding the resignation of Obama as he is also the CEO, but of the US forces? In effect much more wide ranging than the BP leak, as this will and has cost god knows how many UK soldiers lives !!
    So come on obama do the honorable thing and RESIGN the same as you have made Mr T Haywood resign. Of course he won't as there is no direct finacial implication.

  • Comment number 79.

    No, they just reflect how this war is becoming more and more similar to Vietnam and North Korea... with NATO and the UK taking association. It's always been a dangerous, needless and unwinnable war from the beginning.

  • Comment number 80.

    Hurrah for the leaker.

    Let's hope for many more. If it compromises security, leads to disaffected troops,and lets the truth out hurrah I say. If it stops the US and us marching on countries with the thinnest of pretexts and lies, hurrah again. If it make 'our heroes' say to their bosses: "Stuff you, if you want a fight, you do it, I ain't got no issues with these people" Great.

  • Comment number 81.

    Thank you for telling us about Wikileaks which throws a much needed light on the activities of the USA, and
    her poodles on this side of the Atlantic. You may well have made a greater contribution to World peace and justice than any other organisation in the 21st century.

  • Comment number 82.

    #36 Nath314 wrote:
    'If these civilian deaths had occurred in Gaza or Palestine, the UN security council would immediately have met to condemn Israel. How come the US, UK and others aren't brought to account for these deaths?'

    See also shlomo’s comment at 46.

    How nice to see Israelis condemning the US and UK. Why don’t you both read your history books? You’ll find that but for Britain and the US Israel wouldn’t exist.

    Israel, the US and UK should all be brought to account for the atrocities they have committed against the weak, the poor, and the defenceless of this world in the name of pure unadulterated greed. Israel is the most secretive of nation states. Its record of brutality against the Palestinians over 60 years is appalling.

    These leaks are a necessary balance to the corruption, lies and propaganda peddled by the western media. Regrettably the BBC’s hands are far from clean as down the decades it has been reluctant to offend or upset the governing establishment for fear of losing its privileged position.

    Upwards of 80% of British people want the troops out of Afghanistan according to the most recent polls, yet they are still there. It is a perversion masquerading as democracy.

    Take note David Cameron and William Hague, I don’t want my taxes used for killing defenceless and innocent Afghan civilians.

    Well done that person who took great risks to leak the truth. The world
    is in your debt.

  • Comment number 83.

    Just a thought ... Whoever *deliberately* supplied Wikileaks with US secret revelations make BP's *accidental* leak pale into insignificance. The former exceeds by far all damage incurred during the latter - and in any case, the latter is now repaired.

  • Comment number 84.

    44. At 07:47am on 26 Jul 2010, streaky wrote:

    "We must also remember that Afghanistan was not involved in the terrible events in New York in 2001"

    Uhm, wow? In the same way as Germany wasn't involved in the events of WW2?

    Kinda depends on your definition really - the general population of course not at all, but the people running the show, in collusion with Al Qaeda directly, and not by a thin thread..

    Funding, support both moral and material. I don't see how you separate the two.

    As for how dangerous this data is to boots on the ground, it ends at the end of 2009 anyways, though that said the US mil clearly has a leak it might want to consider plugging - didn't they say they got the guy involved? Maybe not....

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    Provide factual evidence that Afghanistan was directly behind the events in New York in 2001. Did you not know that the Taliban who were in power at the time offered to extradite Bin Laden? Stop reading the Sun and coming out with the same hysterical rubbish that the US comes out with.

  • Comment number 85.

    The Taliban already know this stuff. It happened to them.
    It is only a secret to us.

    Now it is not a secret, will it make any difference?
    It should be a litmus test of our democracy.

  • Comment number 86.

    44. At 07:47am on 26 Jul 2010, streaky wrote:
    "We must also remember that Afghanistan was not involved in the terrible events in New York in 2001"
    Uhm, wow? In the same way as Germany wasn't involved in the events of WW2?
    Kinda depends on your definition really - the general population of course not at all, but the people running the show, in collusion with Al Qaeda directly, and not by a thin thread..
    Funding, support both moral and material. I don't see how you separate the two.
    ...................................................
    There were 19 terrorists involved in the events of 9/11. 14 of them were Saudis. The man running their terrorist organisation, Osama Bin Laden is also a Saudi.
    Saudi Arabia is run by the Saudi Royal Family who support an extreme version of the muslim religion. No other religion is tolerated or accepted in that country.
    Strangely enough we never hear of Saudi Arabia being described as part of the 'Axis of Evil' and as far as I know we have no plans to invade.
    Does anyone have any idea why we treat Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia so differently (rhetorical question, no answer required)

  • Comment number 87.

    Let's face it, the Russians where in Afganistan for a certain reason, the Americans financed the opposition, and the Russians gave up. So now the dumb Americans are in there for the same reason the Russians were (and don't tell me they are stupid enough to go and fight a 20 year war against terrorism - I can understand fighting a 20 year war for access to a valuable resource - like OIL), but now they're fighting themselves, and have realised the only way is by using the same devious tactics they despise and castigate. So now the dumb Americans are showing their true colours - they have failed in every war they have fought - and the only 'win' they achieved was by using the same weapons of mass destruction they fear so much.

  • Comment number 88.

    It is refresing to get uncensored news on word events, and telling the public real news, and not the sanitised "D" noticed tirbits we are normely left with

  • Comment number 89.


    67. At 09:10am on 26 Jul 2010, Dave Mee wrote:

    This is a terrible threat to national security. I hear Saddam Hussein, king of Afghanistan and architect of 9/11, can launch a nuclear and biological strike on the UK in only 4 minutes. Won't somebody think of the troops?

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    I seem to vaguely recall hearing something like this before. Was your source a Mr Tony Blair former PM and now Middle East Envoy?

  • Comment number 90.

    Secrecy is only justified for the protection of soldiers' lives, not to prevent their commanders and political leaders being accountable to those they serve.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    These leaks help reveal violation and breach of human rights by US and NATO FORCES
    (The White House has said that such classified information could put the lives of Americans at risk,)
    What a laughable responds from white house!
    What about other civilian lives? Is hiding reality helps to protect American lives?
    Do you believe all humans are equal?
    One thing for sure, the reality will come out one day


  • Comment number 93.

    More than 90,000 leaked US military records have been published on the website Wikileaks, reportedly revealing hidden details of the Afghanistan war. What will be the implications of these leaks? Those facts have no reference any more to that deployed today. I call it misinformation, a tactic of propaganda in a time of war.

  • Comment number 94.

    I think our guys and girls over in Afghan are doing an hard but important job, at massive risk to themselves, and that that should be appreciated. I have a number of friends out there right now. However, hiding mistakes and accidents under the cover of "national security" is downright shameful.

    When mistakes happen they need to be accepted, analysed and measures put in place to prevent recurrences. Putting ones head in the sand is hardly likely to help the issue. It certainly doesn't help maintain credibility with the Afghan people, the military needs to get over some of its institutionalised secrecy issues.

    Bombs fall off target, intelligence turns out to be poor (always easy to analyse that with hindsight), keyed up troops on patrols who have to be paranoid about suicide bombers and IEDs WILL make mistakes. Many of these incidents are probably understandable given the operational environment, however those that aren't must be dealt with to the full extent of international law.

    Dealing with these issues wont be easy, but needs to be done and to be SEEN to be done in order for the Afghan people and us back home to have faith in what the guys and girls are doing out there.

  • Comment number 95.

    I don't believe that these leaks will have any real security implications for troops on the ground since most of it is relatively old and not up to date.
    What is more interesting and potentially more damaging to both US and Britain is the release of information about civilian casualties, not the fact that they have occurred since I'm sure most people realise that there are bound to be such incidents.
    I do feel that as a taxpayer if my government is going to use my money to fight a war they should at least be honest about what is being done in my name. If a number of civilians die we should be told, there is no reason for that information to be witheld.

  • Comment number 96.

    The tragey is that it was required that this information was leaked. It should always have been in the public domain by keeping it secret it shows the poor performance of all troops.

    This is a war that cannot and will never be won unless there is a grip taken of the heroin trade and its widespread legalisation.

  • Comment number 97.

    "Do the leaks help the understanding of the Afghanistan war?"

    ** To a certain extent, yes.

    "Do they affect the security of the troops on the ground?"

    ** Don't know, don't care. They should not be there anyway.

    "Do you trust leaked and unprocessed information?"

    ** Depends upon the source. Certainly I have learned not to trust mainstream media when it comes to serious matters which affect us all.

    Like processed food, processed news is not good for you.

  • Comment number 98.

    Security is at the heart of the issue. Fighting hardened terrorists is a complex game where strategy, blackmail and deadly tactics are used to gain advantage. Sometimes so called 'friends' are in the pay of enemies. Establishing trust is so very difficult. Lightning moves as in the game of chess could prove decisive. The United States is determined to rid the region of the Taliban and al Qaeda and President Obama should be supported to the hilt.

  • Comment number 99.

    "Irresponsible" and "This could affect national security"... these phrases seem to crop up every time the US and UK governments and/or armed forces are caught with their trousers down.

    These documents relate to the events of 2009 and earlier. They are unlikely to relate to any ongoing operations, so there will be no direct, material threat to any operations in particular.

    News of civilian deaths may hurt the 'hearts and minds' agenda, but what a topsy-turvy world we must live in where the reporting of civilian deaths is a greater crime than the killing of civilians in the first place.

  • Comment number 100.

    I for one haven’t the stomach to go look at wikileaks but it should be main stream news anyway. Why the hell should this be pushed down the memory hole this is why internet regulation is being pushed all over the planet so you can go see how Katie price is going on everything’s fine go back to sleep people.

 

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