July 26th, 2010
10:21 AM ET

What's in the WikiLeaks documents?

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has published what it says are more than 90,000 United States military and diplomatic reports about Afghanistan filed between 2004 and January of this year. (See the documents)

WikiLeaks released the documents to The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel before any other media outlets, and they had a chance to examine ahead of time. Each news organization concentrated on different angles, but here are some highlights:

On Osama Bin Laden:
The Guardian examined documents that allegedly link bin Laden to several incidents between 2004 and 2009.
Osama Bin Laden reported to have issued orders to suicide bombers in Afghanistan 
Afghanistan war logs: Bin Laden instigates suicide attack against Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to U.S. report

On civilian casualties: Many of the documents deal with civilian casualties, whether from air strikes, at roadblocks or in other circumstances.
Special forces wound two, kill six, including young girl, plus donkey and chickens

On Pakistan ties: Several documents that The Guardian highlights indicate the fingerprints of Pakistan's ISI spy agency on some Taliban activity.
Pakistan's spies accused of arming Taliban ally with motorbikes for suicide attacks

The Times redacted material it felt would reveal suspects' identities, to protect “people in danger,” or that would “reveal key tactical military capabilities.” The Times links to an explanation of its redactions.

On Pakistan: The Times reports on documents that show Pakistan allows representatives of its secret service to meet directly with members of the Taliban in strategy meetings to organize militants to fight against Americans in Afghanistan. Plots to assassinate Afghan leaders have been discussed in these meetings, according to the documents.
• Pakistan Aids insurgency in Afghanistan, reports assert

On how the war is going: The Times reports a "ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayals."
• View is bleaker than official portrayal of war in Afghanistan

On fighting the insurgency: The Times tells the story of U.S. Outpost Combat Keating, opened in 2006 in the Kamdesh district of Nuristan Province to fight the insurgency. The Times reports that leaked documents show three years of frustration within the outpost including low troop levels, unreliable Afghan partners, and an insurgency that has “grown in skill, determination and its ability to menace.”
• Strategic plans spawned bitter end for lonely outpost

On German military problems:
Spiegel looks at documents that allegedly illustrate little progress by the German troops in northern Afghanistan.
• Situation is far worse than the German government reports

On targeted assassinations: Several documents involve alleged targeted killings by the secretive U.S. Task Force 373.
• U.S. elite unit could create political fallout for Berlin

Filed under: WikiLeaks
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