Afghan war leaks: Bitter truths of a bitter conflict

By staff

Leaked US military papers recording the war on Afghanistan have provided a long list of disturbing revelations about the struggle against the Taliban.

Whistleblower website Wikileaks published its ‘Afghan War Diary’, made up of 90,000 records covering 2004 to 2010, overnight.

The leaked intelligence documents suggest that hundreds of civilians were killed or injured because of action by international forces rather than the Taliban.

Analysis: Do the Afghan leaks change anything?

The Guardian newspaper, which was shown the files alongside Der Spiegel and the New York Times, reported that some instances had seen UK forces shooting at unarmed drivers or motorcyclists as they approached patrols or convoys.

Diplomatic relations with Pakistan are likely to be damaged by the revelations, which show that the coalition is concerned that elements of Pakistani forces are helping the Taliban.

They also revealed the Taliban has been using heat-seeking missiles which target aircraft, a capability which had not previously been confirmed.

Domestic political support for the war in Afghanistan is likely to be hit by the leaks. They undermine confidence in international troops, increase the perceived military capabilities of the Taliban and raise questions about the unity of regional partners crucial to the success of the ongoing struggle.