By Declan McCullagh and Steven Musil
July 25, 2010
Wikileaks, the document-leaking organization that has previously
released internal U.S. military videos, on Sunday disclosed over 75,000
confidential files related to the war in Afghanistan.
The group gave the documents in advance to the New York Times, Germany's
Der Spiegel, and the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, which independently
confirmed their authenticity. The Guardian called the disclosure a
"devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan," saying it
reveals how the U.S.-led coalition has killed hundreds of civilians in
unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have risen, and NATO commanders
worry that neighboring Pakistan and Iran are aiding the insurgency.
About 76,900 of the files--which the group calls the "Afghan War
Diary"--appeared on Wikileaks.org at around 4 p.m. PT. Wikileaks says it
has delayed the release of an additional 15,000 files to allow names and
other sensitive information to be removed.
The U.K. public service broadcaster Channel 4 performed its own analysis
of the dispatches from individual military units, which cover the war
from 2004 through the end of 2009, and concluded that 15,506 enemy
deaths were reported. At least 4,232 civilians were killed, and 1,138
NATO troops were killed.
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