Seamy side of Afghan war

Although all the three major players – Washington, Islamabad and Kabul – distanced themselves in their own peculiar ways from the accusations but the leak of 91,000 classified US records on Afghan war appeared to be one of the largest unauthorised disclosures in military history. Wikileaks.org posted the otherwise sensitive documents on Sunday but as the coincidence would have it, the New York Times, the Guardian, London and the German weekly Der Spiegal were given early access to the records, which went a long way towards showing the seamy side of the war to the outside world. White House national security adviser General Jim Jones said that the release of documents put the lives of Americans and their partners at risk even if these described a period from January 2004 to December 2009, mostly during the administration of President George W. Bush i.e. before President Barack Obama announced a new Afpak strategy. Pak ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani reacted by saying that the documents did not reflect the current on-ground realities, in which Washington and Islamabad were jointly endeavouring to defeat al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies. The USA and Pakistan quietly deputed special teams of analysts to read the records online to assess whether sources or locations could be at any risk.

Embarrassing as the announcement by the web site sounded, WikiLeaks said that its release on Sunday did not generally include top-secret organisations and, what was more important, that it had delayed the release of some 15,000 reports as part of what it called as the process to minimise harm as demanded by its source. The documents mostly pointed to incidents in which innocent civilians got killed. AP reported on Monday that US had been bracing for a deluge of thousands of more classified documents since the leak of helicopter cockpit video of a 2007 firefight in Baghdad blamed on 22-year-old army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, who was charged with releasing classified information earlier this month. Manning had bragged on line that he downloaded 260,000 classified US cables and transmitted them to Wikileaks. In the midst of chaotic disclosures, Pakistan needs to play safe.

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