Wikileaks files shine a light on life in Afghanistan -

Wikileaks files shine a light on life in Afghanistan

How much does the Taliban pay for opium? How many insurgents are in jail?


Tens of thousands of pages of secret military files obtained by Wikileaks and posted online this week paint a disturbing picture of the war in Afghanistan. From the Pakistani intelligence community’s apparent cooperation with Taliban fighters to insurgents’ previously undisclosed use of heat-seeking missiles, the military logs show a conflict that has escalated dramatically since the U.S. invasion in 2001.

What the documents also reveal is the extent to which Afghanistan’s institutions are either hopelessly corrupt or altogether broken. Below, we’ve compiled some of the most telling details included in the logs (all figures are in U.S. dollars). We’ve also posted a database with all the logs online for you to add your own findings in the comments.

Percentage increase in the number of incidents classified as “enemy actions” between 2004 and 2009

Average number of incidents classified as “enemy actions” in 2009, per day

Number of attacks on Afghan forces by fellow Afghan forces between 2004 and 2009

Number of documents related to friendly fire incidents

Number of references to “decapitation” or “beheading”

Number of references to amputation

Number of incidents where amputation was termed “severe” or “traumatic”

Total number of times Osama Bin Laden is mentioned in the logs

Street price of an AK47 in Afghanistan (2007)

Monthly salary of a teacher in Ghazni (2007)

Less than $120
Monthly salary of a member of the Afghan National Police (2007)

Amount paid by Taliban fighters to locals willing to shoot at coalition forces, per attack (2006)

Monthly salary paid to the governor of Panjshir province (2007)

Raise the governor “happily” received from President Karzai after complaining about his wages, per year (2007)

Bribe money required to secure “a police chief position or government position” with officials in Kabul (2008)

Total number of documents discussing bribes

Monthly salary paid to counter-narcotics agents to eradicate poppy fields (2007)

Amount paid to villagers who destroy their poppy fields, per acre (2007)

Bribes paid by local farmers to prevent the eradication of their poppy fields, per acre (2007)

Amount paid by Taliban for 40 kg of wet opium (2009)

Total number of detainees at the Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP), which replaced the Bagram Theater Internment Facility (BTIF) in late 2009 (December 2009)

Estimated age of a detainee held at BTIF who was initially “believed to be under the age of 15 years old” (October 2009)


Wikileaks files shine a light on life in Afghanistan

  1. The entire Afghan mess is the perfect example of (to misquote a famous author) the bellicose frivolity of a senile alliance. The only good news to come out of this idiocy is that it wont be repeated. Neither the US nor it Nato allies have the resources or the will to mount such a comedy of errors again.

    • I suppose they thought that after Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan the first time… History has a funny way of repeating itself…

      • Absolutely. They'll do it again and with less reason.

  2. Somebody please tell me that 2 is a typo for the age of the youngest prisoner.

    • I don't think it is.

      Is that possible? Why am I reading articles all day saying nothing new is coming from these leaked documents when there's a 2 year old held in a prison?

      • I'd like to ask Christie Blatchford that question, actually.

      • I've double-checked the report and it's indeed a mistake. The reference is to a child who's at the prison, but not necessarily a prisoner—that is, it could be a child who was born at the prison. It's not clear it's a detainee, so it's misleading to put it the way I did. I've taken it out.

        • Shouldn't it have been self-evident that a two-year-old wasn't a detainee?

          • They don't call them the "terrible twos" for nothing.

        • Thanks for clearing that up and restoring at least a little of my faith in humanity.

  3. I can't figure out why WikiLeaks founder loves the Taliban so much. Is it because they rape and kill and throw acid at young girls who have the audacity to attempt to go to school? Does he love the Taliban's extortion of farmers and violent enforcement of extremist Islam on an unwilling civilian population? Maybe he just loves the Turbans and thinks all women should wear burkas. The leaks endanger the lives of Afghans who are courageous enough to rat out the Taliban and they help Taliban members to avoid capture. 90,000 documents is not whistle-blowing, just greed and aiding terrorists.

    • Maybe he does.

      But did it ever strike you that, if the Taliban were spending billions trying to bomb us back into the stone age so that we'd put our little girls in burqahs, you'd want somebody leaking their record of events? It would be great if the leaks were some sort of tale of heroic nobility, but even reading about squalid stupidity and wanton destruction still gives some of us warm fuzzies. Who makes these guys write all this crap down? Why? It hasn't helped them win!

      I'm inclined to think that the bozo who put identifying descriptive information into a report that could wind up anywhere put his contacts at risk. Sometimes these 'contacts' get whacked by another zealot in a different department.

      If he'd have been paid a half of what a private security specialist in Afghanistan gets paid, I might have bought your greed thing. Sorry pal, this is leak stuff is more altruistic than enlisting.

  4. Let the people run their own country. Does anyone come over to us and try to change our demoncracy?

    • yes, they do come, and they do try to change our country. Where have you been living, under a rock?