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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Afghanistan war logs: tensions increase after revelation of more leaked files | World news | The Guardian

Afghanistan war logs: tensions increase after revelation of more leaked files | World news | The Guardian

Afghanistan war logs: tensions increase after revelation of more leaked files
• Coalition commanders hid civilian deaths, war logs reveal
• US, Afghanistan and Pakistan trade angry accusations
• Leak poses 'very real threat' to US forces - White House
David Leigh and Matthew Taylor
The Guardian, Tuesday 27 July 2010
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The Pentagon said it was conducting an investigation into whether information in the logs placed coalition forces or their informants in danger. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images
Tensions between the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan were further strained today after the leak of thousands of military documents about the Afghan war.

As members of the US Congress raised questions about Pakistan's alleged support for the Taliban, officials in Islamabad and Kabul also traded angry accusations on the same issue.

Further disclosures reveal more evidence of attempts by coalition commanders to cover up civilian casualties in the conflict.

The details emerge from more than 90,000 secret US military files, covering six years of the war, which caused a worldwide uproar when they were leaked yesterday.

The war logs show how a group of US marines who went on a shooting rampage after coming under attack near Jalalabad in 2007 recorded false information about the incident, in which they killed 19 unarmed civilians and wounded a further 50.

In another case that year, the logs detail how US special forces dropped six 2,000lb bombs on a compound where they believed a "high-value individual" was hiding, after "ensuring there were no innocent Afghans in the surrounding area". A senior US commander reported that 150 Taliban had been killed. Locals, however, reported that up to 300 civilians had died.

Other files in the secret archive reveal:

• Coalition commanders received numerous intelligence reports about the whereabouts and activity of Osama bin Laden between 2004 and 2009, even though the CIA chief has said there has been no precise information about the al-Qaida leader since 2003.

• The hopelessly ineffective attempts of US troops to win the "hearts and minds" of Afghans.

• How a notorious criminal was appointed chief of police in the south-western province of Farrah.

Speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club in central London yesterday, Julian Assange, of Wikileaks, the website which initially published the war logs, said: "It is up to a court to decide clearly whether something is in the end a crime. That said, on the face of it, there does appear to be evidence of war crimes in this material."
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