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Leaks show unreported Afghan deaths: Papers

Some 90,000 leaked US military records amount to an blow-by-blow account of six years of the Afghanistan war, including unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings as well as covert operations against Taliban figures, two newspapers and a magazine with access to the documents has reported.

world Updated: Jul 26, 2010 09:57 IST

Some 90,000 leaked US military records amount to an blow-by-blow account of six years of the Afghanistan war, including unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings as well as covert operations against Taliban figures, two newspapers and a magazine with access to the documents has reported.

The online whistle-blower organisation Wikileaks was planning to post the documents on its website on Sunday. The New York Times, London's Guardian newspaper and the German weekly Der Spiegel were given early access to the documents.

The Times said the documents - including classified cables and assessments between military officers and diplomats - describe US fears that ally Pakistan's intelligence service was actually aiding the Afghan insurgency.

According to the Times, the documents suggest Pakistan "allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organise networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders."

The Guardian, however, interpreted the documents differently, saying they "fail to provide a convincing smoking gun" for complicity between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban.

The Guardian report focuses instead on documents that it said reveal "how a secret 'black' unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for kill or capture without trial" and "how the US covered up evidence that the Taliban has acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles."

Der Spiegel, meanwhile, reported that the records show Afghan security officers as helpless victims of Taliban attacks.

The magazine said the documents show a growing threat in the north, where German troops are stationed.

It says the reports are clearer than what the German government tells Parliament, describing the security situation in the north as continuously getting worse and including concrete warnings about imminent attacks.