THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
July 25, 2010
The Guardian

Afghanistan War Logs: Massive Leak of Secret Files Exposes Truth of Occupation

by Nick Davies and David Leigh

A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.

Their publication comes amid mounting concern that Barack Obama's "surge" strategy is failing and as coalition troops hunt for two US naval personnel captured by the Taliban south of Kabul on Friday.

The war logs also detail:

* How a secret "black" unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.

* How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.

* How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.

* How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date. . . .

FULL TEXT, AFGHANISTAN: THE WAR LOGS



[The Moslems had staged a bitter and uninterrupted warfare against the might of Spain for a period of 377 years. It is doubtful if this record has been equalled in the whole bloody history of military aggression.--Vic Hurley, "The Swish of the Kris," Cacho Hermanos (1985), 1st ed 1936]

Dana Visalli, "What I Learned in Afghanistan - About the United States," LewRockwell.com, May 6, 2010

[History is about to take a monumental turn in the rugged, desolate hills and dales of Afghanistan where the world's sole superpower leads an alliance facing defeat at the hands of the nameless resistance fighters of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.--Muhammad Abdullah Gul, "Afghanistan - paths to peace," Al Jazeera, July 19, 2010]

C. J. Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Andrew W. Lehren, Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, and Eric Schmitt, "View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan," New York Times, July 25, 2010

[He said the files showed that "thousands" of war crimes may have been committed in Afghanistan.--Alexandra Topping and Jo Adetunji, "Afghanistan war logs: Wikileaks founder rebuts White House criticism," Guardian, July 26, 2010]

Chris Floyd, "Leaky Vessels: Wikileaks 'Revelations' Will Comfort Warmongers, Confirm Conventional Wisdom," chris-floyd.com, July 26, 2010

Gordon Duff, "Wiki-Leaks is Israel, Like We All Didn't Know," veteranstoday.com, July 29, 2010

Haroon Siddiqui, "Afghanistan: It's even worse than you thought," thestar.com, August 1, 2010

VIDEO: Andrew Bacevich, "Afghanistan War: 'The President Lacks the Guts to Get Out'," democracynow.org, August 2, 2010

S. Amjad Hussain, "Leave Afghanistan to sort out its own problems," toledoblade.com, August 9, 2010

Pratap Chatterjee, "Mission assassination in Afghanistan," atimes.com, August 21, 2010

Greg Miller and Joshua Partlow, "CIA making secret payments to members of Karzai administration," washingtonpost.com, August 27, 2010

AUDIO: "'Afghanistan Pakistan Imbroglio' with Pakistani General Hamid Gul," kpfa.org, September 1, 2010

Eric Walberg, "US endgame in Afghanistan: The evil of three lessers," ericwalberg.com, September 12, 2010

[Marjah was invented because a military operation has to have a clear-cut goal to be deemed a victory. President Obama had doubled the total US troop deployment, but public support was waning. The generals needed a victory, so they created Marjah and planned Operation Moshtarak to capture it.--Neil Faulkner, "Guerrilla of Arabia: How one of Britain's most brilliant military tacticians created the Taliban's battle strategy," Independent, September 17, 2010]

Matthew Green, "Afghans lose faith as fraud claims hit poll," Financial Times, September 18, 2010

[The combat zone is not merely thousands of miles away from the United States, it can be accessed only by crossing other countries: Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, or Tajikistan. . . .

It costs $400 to put one gallon of gas on the ground in certain places in Afghanistan. In 2009, according to Pentagon estimates, allied forces were consuming over half a million gallons of gasoline per day, a figure that nearly doubled before the new "surge" troops began reaching the country. During the Vietnam war the Pentagon calculated that every soldier in-country represented $7,000 in the war budget. For Afghanistan that figure is $1,000,000.--John Prados, "In Afghanistan, the Handwriting Is on the Wall," huffingtonpost.com, Otober 11, 2010]

Nick Turse, "US dug in for long haul in Afghanistan," atimes.com, Otober 23, 2010

Jeremy Scahill, "Killing Reconciliation," thenation.com, October 27, 2010

[The prospect of a negotiated peace is dismissed almost outright. "All this talk of a political settlement with Karzai... it is all tricks and propaganda," he says. "The Taliban will not negotiate with anyone until all foreign troops have left." His men are genuinely perplexed by General Petraeus's assertion that Nato's purpose in Afghanistan is to prevent the re-establishment of al-Qa'ida. "There were some foreign fighters in Chak for a while last year," Mullah Naim recalls, "Arabs, Chechens, Pakistanis. But they were fighting under the Taliban, obeying our orders. They were nothing to do with al-Qa'ida. There are no al-Qa'ida fighters in Afghanistan any more. I have fought in the south and in the east as well as here. In seven years of operations I have not seen a single al-Qa'ida fighter. Not one."--James Fergusson, "Exclusive: Afghanistan - behind enemy lines," Independent, November 14, 2010]

[The Associated Press covered US ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry's announcement that a $511 million contract had been awarded to Caddell Construction, one of America's "largest construction and engineering groups", for a massive expansion of the US Embassy in Kabul. According to the ambassador, that embassy is already "the largest ... in the world with more than 1,100 brave and dedicated civilians ... from 16 agencies and working next to their military counterparts in 30 provinces," and yet it seems it's still not large enough.--Tom Engelhardt, "Kabul gets its own stimulus package," atimes.com, November 18, 2010]

[The AfPak war costs roughly US $7 billion a month - money that Washington needs to borrow from Beijing. Afghanistan in itself costs $65 billion a year - not counting NATO and humanitarian aid. Afghanistan's gross domestic product is only $22 billion. So Washington is spending three times the wealth of a whole country just to occupy it. Money for nothing. Properly invested, by this time Afghanistan would be the new Singapore.--Pepe Escobar, "Have (infinite) war, will travel," atimes.com, November 18, 2010]

["The Taliban have no problem with the Afghan government. We have no problem with Karzai or the Afghans. The problem lies with the Americans," he said. . . .

"The Americans have one right only, and that is their right to be assured that Afghanistan will not be used against them and that is something the Taliban should give.

"Apart from that they have no rights, they have no right to tell us about democracy and human rights. That's an Afghan issue and it will be decided by the Afghans."--Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, "Talking to the Taliban about life after occupation," Guardian, November 26, 2010

[But staying is not worth years more of warfare, thousands more dead Americans, and hundreds of billions more wasted dollars.--Doug Bandow, "What I Saw in Afghanistan," American Conservative, December 2010]

Bandow, "Afghans Overwhelmingly Want US Troops Out - and Soon," GlobalPost, December 9, 2010

"Kevin Barret Interviews Dr. Doug Rokke," Truth Jihad Radio, December 11, 2010

Patrick Cockburn, "$52bn of American aid and still Afghans are dying of starvation," Independent, December 13, 2010

Patrick Cockburn, "CIA report undermines Obama's upbeat assessment of Afghan war," Independent, December 16, 2010

[The most prominent of those tactics was a large-scale demolition of homes that has left widespread bitterness among the civilians--Gareth Porter, "Kandahar gains came with 'brutal' tactics," atimes.com, December 21, 2010]

Juan Cole, "Top Ten Myths about Afghanistan, 2010," juancole.com, December 27, 2010

[ . . . the heart of the matter is that if and when intra-Afghan peace talks begin stemming from a regional initiative by Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey (and, perhaps, grudging Iranian acquiescence), the entire US position will cave in and the Obama administration will find itself in an absurd and untenable position of adamantly insisting on pursuing a war which neither the Afghan people nor the regional powers want.--M K Bhadrakumar, "US bends to Pakistan's wish," atimes.com, January 11, 2011]

[The Congressional Research Service estimates that total Afghan war funding in fiscal year 2011 will hit $119 billion, up from $19 billion in 2006 -- and all that in a country with an annual gross domestic product of less than $12 billion.--Dan Froomkin, "Norquist Decries Lack Of Conservative Debate On Afghanistan," huffingtonpost.com, January 12, 2011]

[The central justification of the U.S.-NATO war against the Afghan Taliban - that the Taliban would allow al-Qaeda to return to Afghanistan - has been challenged by new historical evidence of offers by the Taliban leadership to reconcile with the Hamid Karzai government after the fall of the Taliban government in late 2001.--Gareth Porter, "Evidence of 2002 Taliban Offer Damages Myth of al-Qaeda Ties," ipsnews.net, February 8, 2011]

"Sovereignty, Neutrality, Self-Generated Security, and Self- Sustained Development for Afghanistan: A Statement from the Members of the Islamic Peace and Reform Movement of Afghanistan," dawatfreemedia.org, February 8, 2011

[The disgusting and heartbreaking photos published last week in the German media, and more recently in Rolling Stone magazine, are finally bringing the grisly truth about the war in Afghanistan to a wider public. All the PR about this war being about democracy and human rights melts into thin air with the pictures of US soldiers posing with the dead and mutilated bodies of innocent Afghan civilians.--Malalai Joya, "Kill teams in Afghanistan: the truth," Guardian, March 30, 2011]

Shaukat Qadir, "How Anarchy Beats Out Tradition: Two or Three Things You Need to Know About Afghanistan," counterpunch.org, April 4, 2011

Graeme Smith, "Wedded to the warlords: NATO's unholy Afghan alliance," Globe and Mail, June 3, 2011

Gareth Porter, "90% of Petraeus's Captured 'Taliban' Were Civilians," antiwar.com, June 13, 2011

Pepe Escobar, "Taliban deliver hammer blow to NATO," atimes.com, July 14, 2011

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