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Afghans Welcome Wikileaks Revelations, While Pakistan Rejects Them

July 26, 2010


The immediate reaction in Kabul to the Wikileaks bombshell was one of vindication, while Islamabad has rejected much of what has emerged.

To many Afghan officials and analysts, the allegations contained in the 92,000 field reports by U.S. and NATO troops across Afghanistan strengthened the claims they have been making for years about the way the war was being conducted.

Speaking to journalists on July 26, Afghan presidential spokesman Wahid Omar said the scale of the leak was shocking, but not its contents.

"So far as we are concerned, two things that are obvious in most of the documents that we have read so far are about civilian-casualties cases and about the role the ISI [Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency] has played in destabilizing activities inside Afghanistan," Omar said.

The leaked military files -- covering the period from January 2004 to December 2009, before the Obama administration embarked on a new war strategy in May of this year, according to a White House statement -- chronicle a worsening war situation.

Afghans: Pakistan's 'Double Game'

The reports document allegations of increasing civilian casualties and mounting Taliban attacks. Insurgents are portrayed as enjoying aid and sanctuary in neighboring Pakistan, whose intelligence officials are accused of providing support.

Kabul-based Afghan analyst Ahmad Sayedi tells RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that the leaked documents reveal Islamabad's double game in Afghanistan.

He says that the leaks show that Pakistan has been spending U.S. aid intended to combat terrorism to foment insurgency in Afghanistan.

Sayedi hopes that the issue will push Washington to get tough with Pakistan. "I believe that unless America gets serious with Pakistan, it will continue to damage Afghanistan more," he says, "and the Americans will be pushed deeper into a quagmire."

The leaks detail the alleged role of Pakistani agents in organizing attacks against Western troops, Indian diplomats, aid workers, and Afghan officials. It depicts the former head of ISI, Hamid Gul, as having organized attacks on the front lines.

...Is Denied By Pakistan

Meanwhile, the mood in Islamabad was one of denial. General Talat Masood, a former military general-turned-security analyst, says that the leaks amount to a deliberate attempt to malign Pakistan.

"Most of the allegations have no basis. In fact, their own very senior [officials] in the National Security Council and elsewhere [have said] that such leaks take place [and have] no substance," Masood says.

"And they have said that the level of cooperation between Pakistan and the United States has improved."

Pakistani analysts suggest that the information in the documents could be from Afghan informants and intelligence operatives who hold grudges against Pakistan because of its historically acrimonious relationship with Kabul.

Hamid Gul a former head of the ISI, condemned the allegations and denied any links to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

"Report of my physical involvement with Al-Qaeda or Taliban in planning attacks on American forces is completely baseless," he told "The Wall Street Journal" today. "I am not against America, but I am opposed to what the American forces are doing in Afghanistan."

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/Afghans_Welcome_Wikileaks_Revelations_While_Pakistan_Rejects_Them/2110312.html

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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