Biggest leak in intelligence history
WikiLeaks released over 75,000 secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan.
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WikiLeaks today released over 75,000 secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan.
The Afghan War Diary an extraordinary secret compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The reports describe the majority of lethal military actions involving the United States military. They include the number of persons internally stated to be killed, wounded, or detained during each action, together with the precise geographical location of each event, and the military units involved and major weapon systems used.
The Afghan War Diary is the most significant archive about the reality of war to have ever been released during the course of a war. The deaths of tens of thousands is normally only a statistic but the archive reveals the locations and the key events behind each most of these deaths. We hope its release will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the war in Afghanistan and provide the raw ingredients necessary to change its course.
Most entries have been written by soldiers and intelligence officers listening to reports radioed in from front line deployments. However the reports also contain related information from Marines intelligence, US Embassies, and reports about corruption and development activity across Afghanistan.
Each report consists of the time and precise geographic location of an event that the US Army considers significant. It includes several additional standardized fields: The broad type of the event (combat, non-combat, propaganda, etc.); the category of the event as classified by US Forces, how many were detained, wounded, and killed from civilian, allied, host nation, and enemy forces; the name of the reporting unit and a number of other fields, the most significant of which is the summary - an English language description of the events that are covered in the report.
The Diary is available on the web and can be viewed in chronological order and by by over 100 categories assigned by the US Forces such as: "escalation of force", "friendly-fire", "development meeting", etc. The reports can also be viewed by our "severity" measure-the total number of people killed, injured or detained. All incidents have been placed onto a map of Afghanistan and can be viewed on Google Earth limited to a particular window of time or place. In this way the unfolding of the last six years of war may be seen.
The material shows that cover-ups start on the ground. When reporting their own activities US Units are inclined to classify civilian kills as insurgent kills, downplay the number of people killed or otherwise make excuses for themselves. The reports, when made about other US Military units are more likely to be truthful, but still down play criticism. Conversely, when reporting on the actions of non-US ISAF forces the reports tend to be frank or critical and when reporting on the Taliban or other rebel groups, bad behavior is described in comprehensive detail. The behavior of the Afghan Army and Afghan authorities are also frequently described.
The reports come from US Army with the exception most Special Forces activities. The reports do not generally cover top-secret operations or European and other ISAF Forces operations. However when a combined operation involving regular Army units occurs, details of Army partners are often revealed. For example a number of bloody operations carried out by Task Force 373, a secret US Special Forces assassination unit, are exposed in the Diary -- including a raid that lead to the death of seven children.
This archive shows the vast range of small tragedies that are almost never reported by the press but which account for the overwhelming majority of deaths and injuries.
We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually, in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.
Additional information from our media partners:
- Der Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,708314,00.html
- The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/series/afghanistan-the-war-logs
- The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/world/war-logs.html
Afghan War Diary - Reading guide
Browse by Type
Browse by Category
Browse by Region
Browse by Affiliation
Browse by Date
Browse by SeverityRead the Guardian's full war logs investigation
WikiLeaks Has Not Released the Complete Archive to the Public
Text From a Selection of the Secret Dispatches
UPDATE: WikiLeaks: Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010 :
25th July 2010 5:00 PM EST WikiLeaks has released a document set called the Afghan War Diary (AWD), an extraordinary compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010.
The reports, while written by soldiers and intelligence officers mainly describing lethal military actions involving the United States military, also include intelligence information, reports of meetings with political figures, and related detail.
The document collection will shortly be available on a dedicated webpage.
The reports cover most units from the US Army with the exception of most US Special Forces’ activities. The reports do not generally cover top-secret operations or European and other ISAF Forces operations.
We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from the total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually, in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.
The data is provided in CSV and SQL formats, sorted by months, and also was rendered into KML mapping data.
- All entries, CSV format
- All entries, SQL format
- All entries, KML format
- All NATO entries, KML format
- Entries by month, KML format
- Entries with scale filter, KML format
The War Logs: Reaction to Disclosure of Military Documents on Afghan War
The At War blog will be providing coverage of the reaction to the release of an archive of classified military documents described below that paints a grim portrait of the war in Afghanistan. The New York Times had access to the documents and published a series of reports that are gathered here.
A note to readers describes The Times’s process of reviewing the documents and deciding what to publish. Editors and reporters who worked on the articles will be answering questions about the material. E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and post a comment below.
1:21 a.m. |A New Approach for WikiLeaks
The Washington Post notes how WikiLeaks’ decision to let The New York Times and two European news outlets have access to the classified reports “reflects the growing strength and sophistication of the small nonprofit Web site.”
9:56 p.m. |Kerry Says ‘Serious Questions’ Raised by Documents
Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the documents released by WikiLeaks raised serious issues about the U.S.’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”
6:46 p.m. |White House Offers Advice to Reporters
The White House e-mailed the following statement with the subject line “Thoughts on Wikileaks” to reporters on Sunday evening. In the memo, the White House advised journalists on possible reporting tacks to take on the documents and pointed them to an excerpt from The Guardian newspaper’s report:
You all should have received a written statement from General Jones [see update below] about the wikileaks release. Please let me know if you didn’t.
A few thoughts about these stories on background:
1) I don’t think anyone who follows this issue will find it surprising that there are concerns about ISI and safe havens in Pakistan. In fact, we’ve said as much repeatedly and on the record. Attached please find a document with some relevant quotes from senior USG officials.
2) The period of time covered in these documents (January 2004-December 2009) is before the President announced his new strategy. Some of the disconcerting things reported are exactly why the President ordered a three month policy review and a change in strategy.
3) Note the interesting graphs (pasted below) from the Guardian’s wikileaks story. I think they help put these documents in context.
4) As you report on this issue, it’s worth noting that wikileaks is not an objective news outlet but rather an organization that opposes US policy in Afghanistan.
From the Guardian:
But for all their eye-popping details, the intelligence files, which are mostly collated by junior officers relying on informants and Afghan officials, fail to provide a convincing smoking gun for ISI complicity. Most of the reports are vague, filled with incongruent detail, or crudely fabricated. The same characters – famous Taliban commanders, well-known ISI officials – and scenarios repeatedly pop up. And few of the events predicted in the reports subsequently occurred.
A retired senior American officer said ground-level reports were considered to be a mixture of “rumours, bullshit and second-hand information” and were weeded out as they passed up the chain of command. “As someone who had to sift through thousands of these reports, I can say that the chances of finding any real information are pretty slim,” said the officer, who has years of experience in the region.
If anything, the jumble of allegations highlights the perils of collecting accurate intelligence in a complex arena where all sides have an interest in distorting the truth.
The memo also provided excerpts of comments that President Obama has made on issues addressed in the documents. More