July 26th, 2010
06:52 PM ET

WikiLeaks documents show Afghan successes and failures

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Training of and handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan police and military forces has been a central component of Afghanistan strategy during the last two administrations. Among the tens of thousands of documents published by WikiLeaks are a series of reports on the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. The reports chronicle successes and failures of both agencies from 2004-2009.  Although both agencies have had failures, a preliminary review of the documents suggests that the ANP has more problems than the ANA.

Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington DC, says that the mixed bag of results in the reports are apparent when reading raw military reporting and traffic. "If you had taken 90,000 documents from the Allied forces that invaded Normandy in 1944 until they reached V-E Day in 1945, you probably would have found the same kind of success stories and failures mixed together," Riedel told CNN.

Among their successes were the capture of Ali Mohammed and Akeeb Khan during separate operations in 2007. The documents allege that both men had played roles in the anti-coalition insurgency in Afghanistan, either with the Taliban or Al Qaeda.  Both reports go into extensive detail into how and where both men were captured, but do not reveal the sources of the intelligence which led to those operations.  Both Mohammed and Khan's names appear in a highly redacted list of detainees held by the United States at Bagram Air Base obtained by the ACLU last January.

Failures in these reports show instances of dysfunction, incompetence, and even criminality within the police and army ranks.

Tribal tensions flared at an ANP station in Delaram in 2005. Two units from different tribes began fighting over money and water. By the time a U.S. military unit arrived on the scene, two ANP officers had been killed and another two were wounded.

In 2007, ANA officers went after five ANP officers who had deserted their unit in an effort to talk them out of their decision or get them to hand over their weapons. According to the report, they returned five minutes later with an ANP officer who had been fatally wounded by a warning shot. That wasn't the end of the incident, though. The report noted that "all ANP in the area are being withdrawn to prevent an attempted honor killing."

Also in 2007, two Afghan police officers got into a heated debate that escalated with one "not seriously" shooting the other, according to the document, which also noted "The shooting was not accidental the policeman (sic) had been arguing with each other for a few days."

In 2008, an unidentified Afghan police officer was in a public shower smoking hashish when two Afghan army officers walked in. The police officer felt threatened and a firefight broke out, in which one army officer was killed and the other wounded. The police officer fled the scene but was later apprehended.

Despite the sheer volume of material that has been released, Riedel, a former CIA officer with experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan, cautioned against jumping to any conclusions. "This is really the raw material of the war, unassessed, raw fragmentary data that I think, in each case, you have to be very careful how much of a larger picture you can conclude from these fragments and snippets."

CNN has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents.

soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.