News / Asia

Latest WikiLeaks Releases Show Afghan Corruption

Internet homepage of Wikileaks, 01 Dec. 2010
Internet homepage of Wikileaks, 01 Dec. 2010

Hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks website depict Afghanistan as a country where corruption is rampant at every level of government.

The cables originated from the U.S. embassy in Kabul and describe the scale of corruption in the Afghan government as "overwhelming" with accusations including bribery, money laundering and profiting from the drug trade.

The documents desribe President Hamid Karzai as being weak and ineffectual. One cable describes Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi as the only member of the Afghan cabinet for with no allegations of corruption against him.

The WikiLeaks website has been publishing thousands of classified documents this week, roiling the diplomatic world.

Late Thursday, the U.S. firm which provides the website its Internet domain took it offline after the site was targeted by thousands of cyber attacks that threatened the stability of the Internet provider. The website was back up a few hours later with a Swiss domain provider.

Other leaked U.S. diplomatic memos, published in a British newspaper, reveal U.S. and Afghan officials have been highly critical of the efforts of British troops in the restive Helmand province.

Working hard to repair the damage caused by the diplomatic leaks, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the leak of State Department documents "will not in any way" interfere with American diplomacy.

But Undersecretary of State William Burns said in Washington the release of the classified papers by WikiLeaks has "substantially hurt" U.S. diplomatic efforts. Burns told a U.S. congressional committee the disclosures are a "despicable breach of trust."

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