Wikileaks publishes US war crimes in Afghanistan
A whistleblower website wikileaks has published what it says are more than 90,000 of secret American military files about the war in Afghanistan which include details of 144 incidents in which Coalition forces have killed civilians.
The White House has attacked online whistleblowing site Wikileaks after it published some 200,000 pages of secret American military files about the war in Afghanistan.
The files, published online by The Guardian, the New York Times and Germany’s Der Spiegel, include details of 144 incidents in which Coalition forces have killed civilians.
The Guardian says the leaks show that troops killed hundreds of civilians in previously unreported incidents.
In one example cited by the British paper, French troops fired at a bus full of children, injuring eight.
A USpatrol was involved in a similar incident that wounded or killed 15 passengers, and in 2007 Polish troops fired mortars at a village, apparently in a revenge attack, killing guests at a wedding party which included a pregnant woman.
According to the New York Times they also “suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban.”
Describing the talks as “secret strategy sessions,” the newspaper said they “organise networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.”
The Guardian says the files revealed a secret black-ops unit which hunts down Taliban leaders for “kill or capture” without trial; how the US covered up evidence of surface-to-air missiles acquired by the Taliban; and how the Taliban have caused growing carnage with their roadside bombing campaign, killing more than 2,000 civilians to date.
USnational security adviser James Jones says the publication of the documents puts the lives of soldiers and civilians at risk.
“The United Statesstrongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk and threaten our national security,” he said in a statement.
“Wikileaks made no effort to contact us about these documents – the United Statesgovernment learned from news organisations that these documents would be posted.”
Much of the information is not new, but what has angered officials in Washington is the detail and the scope of the information.
The New York Times said it, along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel, had received the leaked material several weeks ago from Wikileaks, a secretive web organisation headed by Australian Julian Assange.
The news organisations agreed to publish their reports, based on the files “used by desk officers in the Pentagon and troops in the field when they make operational plans,” on Sunday.
“Most of the reports are routine, even mundane, but many add insights, texture and context to a war that has been waged for nearly nine years,” the Times said in a note to readers describing the leaks.
“Overall these documents amount to a real-time history of the war reported from one important vantage point – that of the soldiers and officers actually doing the fighting and reconstruction.”
Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010