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FACTBOX-Highlights of WikiLeaks release of secret reports
July 26, 2010 / 5:06 PM / 7 years ago

FACTBOX-Highlights of WikiLeaks release of secret reports

July 26 (Reuters) - More than 91,000 documents, most of which are secret U.S. military reports about the war in Afghanistan, were released by WikiLeaks.org on Sunday. Following are some details and highlights of the documents, which were released first to The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel.

AFGHAN WAR DIARY

The "Afghan War Diary" is a compilation of documents and reports covering the war in Afghanistan stretching back to 2004. The reports describe lethal military actions involving the U.S. military including the number of people killed, wounded or detained as well as the precise geographical location of each event. They also disclose the military units involved and major weapon systems used.

Most entries were written by soldiers and intelligence officers listening to reports radioed in from front-line deployments.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DOCUMENTS

* Civilian casualties

The logs are full of accounts of civilian deaths and injuries. The Guardian said 144 entries record a wide spectrum of assaults on Afghans. It said the files show that the U.S.-led coalition troops have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents.

The incidents range from shootings of innocent individuals to massive loss of life from air strikes. One report detailing how one child was killed and another injured when the car they were riding in was fired on by troops showed that civilians were paid compensation -- in this case 100,000 Afghani ($2,170) for the death, 20,000 Afghani ($434) for the injury and 10,000 ($217) for the vehicle.

The reports include about 100 incidents of civilian shootings by jumpy troops at checkpoints, near bases or on convoys, according to the Guardian. Uncooperative drivers or motorcyclists were frequent targets.

WikiLeaks said the vast range of small tragedies are usually not reported but account for the "overwhelming majority of deaths and injuries."

* Taliban using more IEDs

Documents show from 2004-2009 the improvised explosive devise had become the Taliban’s favored weapon and the biggest killer of coalition soldiers. The Guardian said in 2004 the logs reported 308 makeshift bombs, while in 2009 the number had jumped to 7,155.

The newspaper said the logs suggest that the Taliban had killed or injured at least 7,000 Afghan civilians in IED attacks between 2004 and 2009.

* "Black" unit seeks Taliban leaders

A secret "black" unit of U.S.-led special forces -- Task Force 373 -- was being used to hunt down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial. The documents show that the black unit has killed innocent men, women, children and Afghan police as it goes about hunting down its prey. The secret force has a "capture/kill list" of about 70 top insurgent commanders, The New York Times reported.

* Heat-seeking missiles

The U.S. military knows the Taliban have used portable heat-seeking missiles against allied aircraft, though it has not disclosed the fact. The New York Times quoted one report that said a U.S. helicopter was struck by a heat-seeking surface-to-air missile, killing all seven aboard. Though other helicopters reported the downing as a surface-to-air missile strike, a NATO spokesman at the time said the helicopter could have been taken down by small arms fire.

* Pakistan aids insurgency in Afghanistan

The documents suggest that Pakistan allowed representatives of its spy service (Inter-Services Intelligence) to meet directly with the Taliban to organize militant groups that fight against U.S. soldiers, the New York Times reported.

The newspaper cited some reports that describe Pakistani intelligence working with al Qaeda to plan attacks.

One of the documents discusses a meeting of insurgents attended by a former senior Pakistani intelligence official who seems to be working against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Der Spiegel said the documents showed the ISI was the "most important accomplice" the Taliban had outside of Afghanistan. It said Pakistan served as safe haven for enemy forces.

The magazine cited a Jan. 14, 2008, threat report that claimed the ISI had directed a Taliban official to "see that (Afghan President Hamid) Karzai was assassinated."

The New York Times said the reports also detail efforts by ISI officers to run networks of suicide bombers in Afghanistan and said they show that the ISI helped organize Taliban offensives at key times in the war.

* Reports also document problems with the Afghan police force, recounting police brutality, corruption and extortion plots.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles in Washington; Editing by Eric Beech)




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