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.
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