US Military Investigates Leaked Afghan War Documents

July 27th, 2010 by Staff

Source: Voice of America News — The United States says it is launching an investigation to find out who leaked tens of thousands of classified documents about the last six years of the war in Afghanistan, one of the largest security breeches in U.S. military history.

A U.S. defense department spokesman, Geoff Morrell, said Monday the military will do what is necessary to determine who is responsible for leaking the information.

Another U.S. official, Colonel Dave Lapan, said it could take the military “days if not weeks” to determine how the 76,000 secret documents released online by the website WikiLeaks could impact the lives of U.S. servicemen and coalition partners. The officials acknowledged the possibility that more leaks are possible.

WikiLeaks says it has more than 91,000 classified documents, including details of civilian casualties allegedly caused by foreign forces carrying out raids against insurgent targets. The documents also appear to raise the possibility that Pakistan’s intelligence service has been aiding the Afghan insurgency.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told reporters in London Monday he believes there is evidence of war crimes in the material, but that it would be up to a court of law to determine whether such crimes were committed.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Monday the leaks were unlawful, but did not contain any broad revelations. He noted that the U.S. has been concerned about civilian casualties and militant safe havens in Pakistan for quite some time.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit dismissed allegations that his country aided the Afghan insurgency, calling them “far-fetched and skewed.” Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani said the released documents do not reflect current on-the-ground realities.

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Monday the Afghan government was “shocked” that the documents were leaked, but insisted most of the information is not new. Waheed Omar told reporters Afghanistan has repeatedly told its international partners about militant sanctuaries along Pakistan’s border with the country.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor James Jones noted the documents do not reflect the fact that Mr. Obama last year announced a new strategy with a substantial increase in resources for Afghanistan and a focus on al-Qaida and Taliban safe havens in Pakistan. The chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton, echoed the sentiment, saying the “outdated” documents should not be used as a measure of success in Afghanistan.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday he hopes the revelations do not damage international efforts in Afghanistan. In Berlin, German Foreign Minster Guido Westerwelle said the new information in the leaked documents should be examined. Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said such operational leaks could endanger Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

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