News / Asia

US Military Officials Condemn Leaks of Afghan War Documents

Michael Bowman

America's top military officials are condemning last week's public dissemination of thousands of secret U.S. military documents on the war in Afghanistan, but insist the nine-year effort to root out insurgents and terrorists is not a lost cause.  

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had this response when asked how he feels about Internet site Wikileaks' publication of classified documents on the Afghan war.

"Mortified. ppalled. nd if I am angry, it is because I believe this information puts those in Afghanistan who have helped us at risk," Gates said. "It puts our soldiers at risk."

Gates was speaking on ABC's This Week program.  His comments echoed those of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who has said that Wikileaks and its source could have the blood of a U.S. soldier or an Afghan family on their hands.  

U.S. officials believe the Taliban is searching the documents for names of people who have cooperated with multinational forces in the country.

Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press program, Mullen downplayed the significance of documents alleging a connection between Pakistan's intelligence apparatus and Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

"That there are elements of the Pakistani intelligence agency that are connected, or have had relationships with extremists is certainly known, and that has to change," Mullen said.

The admiral had a similar response to assessments in the leaked documents that the Taliban's strength has grown in recent years.  Mullen said the United States recognizes the challenges U.S. forces must overcome in Afghanistan, adding that he believes America's strategy can succeed.

Indications of growing Taliban strength come amid a rise in U.S. casualties in Afghanistan.  July was the deadliest month for American forces in the nine-year war.  The indications also occur as the United States prepares for an eventual draw-down of forces in the country.

But Defense Secretary Gates says no one, especially the Taliban, should assume American forces will disappear overnight.

"We are not leaving Afghanistan in July of 2011," Gates said. "We are beginning a transition process and a thinning of our ranks.  And the pace will depend on the conditions on the ground.  The president has been very clear about that.  And if the Taliban are waiting for the 19th month [the end of the surge in U.S. forces], I welcome that.  Because we will be there in the 19th month, and we will be there with a lot of troops."

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $37-billion in new funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Public-opinion surveys in the United States show declining support for the Afghan war effort and growing pessimism about the chances for success in eradicating terrorists and extremists.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid