More than 90,000 secret Afghan war documents leaked by ‘Wikileaks’; Leaked documents indicate at Pakistan’s covert support to insurgency in Afghanistan; Documents reveal that ISI paid the Taliban and the Haqqani network to specifically target Indians;
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  • In one of the biggest leaks in US military history, ‘Wikileaks’ website has made disclosures of more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports related to ongoing Afghan war, covering the period from January 2004 to December 2009.1 Among many revelations, leaked documents reveal that scores of civilians in Afghanistan have been killed by NATO forces in unreported incidents. The documents claim that 195 civilians have been improperly killed and 174 wounded. The leaked classified reports also reveal the secret efforts of coalition forces to hunt down and “kill or capture” senior Taliban and al-Qaeda figures. While indicating at covert support to insurgency by Pakistan, leaked classified documents suggested that members of Pakistan’s secret services, the ISI have been meeting with Taliban leaders in order to organise resistance against US forces and even kill US-supported Afghan leaders. This has been done by the ISI despite the fact that Pakistan has been receiving annual aid from the United States to fight against insurgency.

    Reports noted that documents may lead to renewed doubts over strategy in Afghanistan. It would be worth noting that more than 1,000 US troops have been killed in the ongoing Afghan conflict.2 The documents also revealed that Pakistan’s ISI paid the Taliban and the Haqqani network to specifically target Indian road construction teams and consulates in Afghanistan which have come under attack more than two dozen times.3

    However, Obama administration has strongly condemned the disclosure of classified documents. The White House noted in a statement, "We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the US government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who co-operate with us."4 Meanwhile, the Pentagon has announced that the US Army has begun a criminal probe into the leak of classified military files. The probe has been assigned to the same Army Criminal Investigation Division that has been investigating Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old private charged in an earlier leak to Wikileaks.5 Reacting to the leak of secret documents, Afghan President Karzai said that leaks have endangered the lives of Afghan citizens who have cooperated with the international forces. However, in a clear reference to havens in Pakistan, President Karzai pushed his international partners to take stronger action against terrorist sanctuaries outside Afghanistan. He stated, “The international community is here to fight terrorism, but there is danger elsewhere and they are not acting.” He was speaking at a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul on July 29th.6

    The Afghan cabinet said in a statement that 52 civilians were killed in a rocket attack by NATO forces in Sangin district of southern Helmand province on July 23rd. President Hamid Karzai who chaired the cabinet meeting, expressed deep shock and strongly condemned the killing of innocent civilians.7 Meanwhile, top NATO Commander in Afghanistan General David Petraeus have issued a new set of Afghan counterinsurgency guidelines which includes instruction to "be a good guest" but urges troops to "fight hard" and get tough on corruption. The three-page document which contains 24 points and dated July 27 is a blueprint for the behaviour of service members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.8

    In other developments, reports noted that hundreds of British troops have launched biggest offensive of summer on July 30th to wrest a Taliban stronghold in Helmand province from insurgent’s control. The offensive has been code named as ‘Operation Tor Shezada’, or Black Prince.9