WikiLeaks' blow to the surge

Posted on August 09, 2010

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has made clear that his objective in releasing tens of thousands of classified documents was to "end the war in Afghanistan" and "oppose an unjust [war] plan before it reaches implementation." He may well achieve his goal. Assange's illegal disclosures are helping the Taliban to undermine Gen. David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy before it has a chance to work.

The documents Assange made public exposed the identities of at least 100 Afghans who were informing on the Taliban -- in some cases including the names of their villages, family members, the Taliban commanders on whom they were informing, and even GPS coordinates where they could be found. The Taliban quickly announced that it was combing the WikiLeaks Web site for information to use to punish these Afghans.

Then, just four days after the WikiLeaks documents were published death threats began arriving at the homes of Afghan tribal leaders. A few days later, one such leader was dragged from his home and executed. It is unknown whether his identity was exposed in the WikiLeaks documents, but according to Newsweek, his execution and the death threats "sparked a panic among many Afghans who have worked closely with coalition forces."

A Taliban intelligence officer warned that "the group's English-language media department is actively examining the WikiLeaks material and intends to draw up lists of collaborators in each province, to add to the hit lists of local insurgent commanders." He said that the message being sent to the Afghan people is: "America is not a good protector of spies."

Read Full Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/09/AR2010080903045.html

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