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Leaked War Files Expose Identities of Afghan Informants

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds up paper

July 26: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds up a copy of Britain's Guardian newspaper during a press conference in London.AFP

Hundreds of Afghan lives have been put at risk by the leaking of 90,000 intelligence documents to WikiLeaks because the files identify informants working with NATO forces.

In just two hours of searching the WikiLeaks archive, The Times of London found the names of dozens of Afghans credited with providing detailed intelligence to U.S. forces. Their villages are given for identification and also, in many cases, their fathers' names.

U.S. officers recorded detailed logs of the information fed to them by named local informants, particularly tribal elders.

Julian Assange, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, claimed on Monday that all the documents released through his organisation had been checked for named informants and that 15,000 such documents had been held back.

The Afghan Government has reacted with horror to the volume of information contained in the files.

A senior official at the Afghan Foreign Ministry, who declined to be named, said: "The leaks certainly have put in real risk and danger the lives and integrity of many Afghans. The U.S. is both morally and legally responsible for any harm that the leaks might cause to the individuals, particularly those who have been named. It will further limit the U.S./international access to the uncensored views of Afghans."

The Pentagon claimed that a preliminary review of the thousands of secret reports released by WikiLeaks showed that they posed no immediate threat to U.S. forces. But experts warned that the Taliban and Al Qaeda would already be using the information to identify and target informers in the war zone.

Continue reading at The Times of London