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Wikileaks creaks under demand for Afghan war logs

Thousands of front line reports released

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Tens of thousands of US Army documents revealing details of the war in Afghanistan were published by Wikileaks late last night and interest is almost bringing the website to a halt.

The "War Logs" were also given to newspapers and reveal far more civilian casualties than previously admitted and deep concerns about the role of Pakistan in the region.

The 92,000 documents cover the period January 2004 to December 2009. They are mostly written by sergeants on the ground, although there is also analysis and strategy from more senior ranks.

They also suggest that Pakistani secret service agents meet regularly with the Taliban to discuss attacks on Afghan officials.

The documents provide evidence of special forces operating as "snatch or kill" squads seeking out Taliban leaders.

US officials condemned the leak as dangerous and irresponsible and described Wikileaks as opposed to US policy in Afghanistan. But the editors of the three main newspapers which received the data said they would not publish sensitive information or anything which could be used to identify informants or create extra risks for Western forces still operating there.

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, said it was the job of journalism to take on powerful interests and documents released showed the true face of the war in Afghanistan. He said they provided an overarching context as well as detail of individual actions of the conflict.

There is a list of Wikileaks mirrors here.

The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel all got early access to the documents. ®

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