Tens of Thousands of Classified Afghan War Documents Released

Over 91,000 classified documents have been released by Wikileaks and entitled the “Afghan War Diary.” These documents paint a picture of the ongoing war in less than a flattering light: countless civilian casualties, an overwhelmed intelligence infrastructure, compromised agencies,  and an unwinnable war. Wikileaks allowed The New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel prior access to these reports so that they might vet them; the papers had to agree to a release embargo until Wikileaks published them via the Internet. Each paper investigated the reports and has selected hundreds for display on their respective websites. To say that there has been blowback is an understatement: the White House condemns the leaks for jeopardizing lives; Steven Aftergood, an expert in classified information has previously decried WikiLeaks; here is an NPR program that discusses the pros and the cons of the leak; C-SPAN has extensive coverage; and the Council on Foreign Relations has a “Featured Briefing“. News stories are too numerous to list. Additional information can be found by consulting the following CRS reports:  Department of Defense Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background and Analysis; Afghanistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance; Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians; The Department of Defense™s Use of Private Security Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background, Analysis, and Options for CongressWar in Afghanistan: Strategy, Military Operations, and Issues for Congress;  Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy; and Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance. Other sources to consult include the Library of Congress’ Portals to the World: Afghanistan; Country Study – Afghanistan (with updated profile); Background Note: Afghanistan; and various volumes of Foreign Relations of the United States. In addition, these sites will prove beneficial: Rand Corporation – Afghanistan; Center for Strategic and International Studies- Afghanistan; and Strategic Stuides Institute – Afghanistan; and CFR – Afghanistan. Those who know their Xenophon (Anabasis) will know the perils of fighting in this area.

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