China and its Discontents

White House and DoD Attack Wikileaks for Afghani Informant Outings

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By now, White House and DoD criticism of the release of the Wikileaks archive has shifted from ‘it harms American soldiers and US military operations’ to ‘it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know’ to ‘Wikileaks released the names, hometowns, and families of Afghani informants, which will result in their deaths’. The possibility that Afghans could be assassinated as a result of this leak is reprehensible and probably the worst result of the leak. But is retribution likely?

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the leader of the Haqqani Network, pointedly omitted any reference to retribution, but does talk about the ‘atrocities’ of US and NATO forces, as well as the ‘loss of innocent lives in bombings’. Both the Taliban and ISAF are waging two parallel wars: the physical war with each other, and the psychological war to gain the trust of the Afghani people (this is what the DoD calls psy-ops, or psychological operations). Both are an integral part of the Taliban’s mission, just as much as it is a part of COIN strategy. Retribution is therefore rather unlikely – not simply because the Taliban talks about ‘innocent lives’ (that would be naive), but because it would set them back in the more important psy-ops war.

Written by Will

July 29th, 2010 at 4:31 pm