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Americas

Afghan leaks show war is 'unwinnable', analyst says

media US soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan. Reuters

The White House has condemned as "irresponsible" the release of 92,000 secret US military records about the conflict in Afghanistan. The files, handed to media yesterday by whistleblower website Wikileaks, includes details of covert operations against top insurgents, unreported civilian killings and Nato concerns about Pakistan officials aiding the Taliban.

The US administration says the massive disclosure of documents could endanger US lives in Afghanistan.

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Paul Rogers, Bradford University 26/07/2010 - by Amanda Morrow Listen

But Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University in the UK, says it is unlikely the leak will affect operations in Afghanistan.

“It is embarrassing to the US but the reports as a whole demonstrate what many independent analysts have already concluded: the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable,” he says.

In one of the documents, Pakistan's former spy chief Hamid Gul is described at a January 2009 meeting with a group of insurgents following the death by CIA drone attack of a leader of Al-Qaeda operations in Pakistan.

Rogers says Pakistan is keen to maintain as much influence in Afghanistan as it can, “mainly because it fears Indian influence, and the best way for Pakistan to do this, is with traditional links to the Taliban and other paramilitary groups”.

According to The Guardian, the documents reveal hundreds of civilians were killed by coalition troops in unreported incidents as well as the existence of a covert unit to "kill or capture" Taliban leaders.

The source of leak is unknown.

US President Barack Obama has set a deadline of July 2011 as the start of a gradual drawdown of US troops, after a nine-year mission.

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