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NATO nations: Hope document leak won't affect war

NATO's European members said today they hope the unprecedented leak of 91,000 classified US military records on Afghanistan will not negatively affect the current war effort.

world Updated: Jul 26, 2010 22:13 IST

NATO's European members said on Monday they hope the unprecedented leak of 91,000 classified US military records on Afghanistan will not negatively affect the current war effort.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said there has been significant progress recently in building up the Afghan state "so I hope any such leaks will not poison that atmosphere."

"We are working hard with our allies on improving security on the ground and increasing ... the capacity of the Afghan government, so we are not going to spend our time looking at leaks," he told reporters before a European Union meeting today.

An EU official, who could not be identified under standing regulations, said the 27-nation bloc "wants to stay as far from this as possible."

Yesterday, the online whistle-blower WikiLeaks posted some 90,000 leaked US military records of six years of the war, including unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings and covert operations against Taliban figures.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle warned about possible "backlashes" and urged all sides in Afghanistan to work toward national reconciliation.

"We have to avoid absolutely any kind of civilian casualties," Italy's Foreign minister Franco Frattini said in response to a question about the unreported civilian deaths.

NATO, which is in charge of the US-led war effort, has declined to comment on the leaks, saying that any reaction would have to come out of the Pentagon. The military alliance
has in the past released numerous statistics showing that Taliban rebels were killing many more civilians than allied troops.

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