War on Terrorism

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Document Leaks Could Endanger Afghan Civilians

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

July 28, 2010 - The classified military documents released by the group WikiLeaks.org could not only threaten the lives of U.S. troops, but the Afghan civilians with whom they work, a top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said today.

Army Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of U.S. and international forces in Regional Command-East and Combined Joint Task Force 101 as well as the 101st Airborne Division, addressed the issue during a video news conference with Pentagon reporters from his Afghanistan headquarters.

Though Campbell said he himself hasn't studied the contents of the documents, he said the leak of classified material could put lives at risk.

"Anytime there's any sort of leak of classified material, it has the potential to harm the military folks that are working out here every day to preserve that," Campbell said. The documents, reportedly given to several U.S. and international media weeks ago, are said to detail field reports from Afghanistan, as well as alleged Pakistani partnership with the Taliban. The more than 70,000 documents cover the period from January 2004 through December 2009, according to Pentagon officials.

Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said today that U.S. troops in Afghanistan are hearing discontent from Afghan partners, whose names were revealed in the documents leak. Some Afghan nationals work with coalition forces to provide information and whereabouts of militants and insurgent activities.

"There's been displeasure from folks whose names appeared there," Lapan said. "Anyone whose name appears in those documents is at risk. It could be a threat to their lives, or to their future conduct" in support of coalition forces.

The Pentagon has launched an investigation to determine the leak's source. The Army's Criminal Investigation Division is the lead organization.

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