An archive of classified U.S. military logs spanning six years, more than 91,000 documents, and 200,000 pages, was today made available by WikiLeaks. The papers show a picture of the war in Afghanistan that is far more grim, and far less hopeful, than previously portrayed.
The New York Times, London’s Guardian newspaper and Der Spiegel in Germany were offered early access to the archive, the contents of which show “why, after the United Sates has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001,” according to the NYT.
This classified military information release by WikiLeaks is its first since publishing a video in April that shows a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack which killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters photojournalists.
The NYT notes the following focal points in this massive leak:
* Americans fighting the war in Afghanistan have long harbored strong suspicions that Pakistan’s military spy service guides the Afghan insurgency that fights American troops, even as Pakistan receives more than $1 billion in U.S. aid.* The C.I.A.’s paramilitary operations are expanding in Afghanistan.
* The Taliban has used portable, heat-seeking missiles against Western aircraft — weapons that helped defeat the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.
The archive is not yet published (or referenced) at Wikileaks.org at the time of this blog post, but The archive is available here at Wikileaks, and links to coverage in the aforementioned three newspapers follow. By those news reports, it would appear that this cache was part of what Pfc. Bradley Manning is believed to have leaked to Wikileaks.
We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from the total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually, in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.
The White House has issued a response. The statement from national security adviser Gen. James Jones emphasizes two points: first, the administration asserts that this leak of classified information endangers the lives of Americans and America’s war allies. Second, the administration points out that the logs cover actions between January 2004 (when Bush was in power) and December 2009 (when President Obama announced a “new approach” to the war in Afghanistan).
“Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010“ in CSV, SQL, KML formats. (Wikileaks)
“The War Logs” (NYT)
“Afghanistan war logs: the glossary“ (Guardian)
“Secret files: Wikileaks exposes ‘unseen war’” (Channel 4 News)
Image: An interactive map available at the Guardian website shows locations and dates tied to documents in the leaked Afghanistan war logs.