Leaked Memos Paint New Picture of War in Afghanistan

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Pakistani soldier enters a cave at a complex dug into rocky mountains which was used by Pakistani militants in northwestern Kurram tribal district close to the Afghan border on July 6, 2010. (A. Majeed/AFP/Getty)

For geographic, political and strategic reasons, Pakistan has been a key player in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, new military documents leaked by Wikileaks.org and published by The New York Times have raised the question: just whose side is Pakistan's intelligence agency on?

While it has been in the interest of American leadership to project a veneer of unity between our two governments and their military agencies, the huge cache of nearly 93,000 memos leaked to our partner The New York Times by Wikileaks paints a very different picture. According to those papers, dated between January 2004 and December 2009, the U.S. military is keenly aware that Pakistan and their spy agency (the ISI), who receive about $1 billion in U.S. aid annually to fight terror networks, has been, in some cases, complicit in attacks against American troops fighting in Afghanistan.

We speak with Jane Perlez, Pakistan correspondent for The New York Times, and Eric Schmitt, terrorism correspondent for the Times. They say that, for the most part, the documents are low-level field reports. "They clearly depict what we have known," says Perlez, "that the war is going badly."



Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [5]


Here we go again - looking at a situation from a limited perspective upon which many will form uninformed judgments about an issue that they know little about and few have experienced first hand. Didn't we learn anything from the Sherrod affair? Worst off is that the this flood of opinions is not useful at all to solving the underlying problem that is faced in the AfPak region. The people at the core of this argument are the ones that suffer - the people of the region and the soldiers, aid workers, and tribal leaders who are actually trying to make a difference.

Jul. 26 2010 11:20 AM
CLAUDIA from New York

It has taken me awhile to digest the revelations (or confirmations) you've talked about from the leaked memos. What hits me most is the warning we've heard for years about the dangers of nuclear arms in the hands of organizations like the Taliban. As I recall that was one of the rationalizations we were given to escalate this conflict. Well, it seems that the Taliban has access to nuclear arms already, through the support of Pakistan. Tell me again why we are in an undeclared war in Afghanistan. Because something is not making sense. I voted for Obama, I was a very big supporter. But this kind of seriously dangerous conflict makes we wonder what I was thinking. Or what he was thinking. With all of the other issues we are facing it becomes more and more apparent that our goal is to inflict as much damage as possible to this planet. Either we destroy as many ecosystems as possible or we just find new ways to toy with blowing the whole thing up. We continue to see war, environment, and economics as separate entities. That is as dangerous as putting nuclear warheads into the hands of fundamentalists. Everything in the end is connected.

Jul. 26 2010 10:47 AM
K.P. from NYC

I wonder how to verify that this classified dump includes *all* available documents. Is there any chance that the person releasing these documents is doing so selectively to make a particular point? Or is wikileaks assembling them selectively?

Or, to be less suspicious, is it possible that there are some documents that were not accessible to the leaker?

Jul. 26 2010 10:29 AM
Kyle from Minneapolis

If these people are so interested in information transparancy, why are we not seeing Pakistan's reports or other agencies? Who decides what we get to be transparent about?

Jul. 26 2010 09:30 AM
Kascha Newberry from Washington (the state)

Great show- but why such long stretches of weird music? They are irritating.

Jul. 26 2010 07:55 AM

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