Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Wikileaks data shows Taliban commander killed twice, captured once, while deaths of 300 civilians denied
by Larry Geller
Wikileaks data show, according to a Guardian story, that the US killed Mullah Ikhlas twice and then captured him once. The first time was on August 2, 2007:
Special operations troops, the war logs report, "tracked and fixed 2 senior Taliban commanders" to the remote spot. The files reveal their names were Mullah Ikhlas, and his deputy, known as Qalandari. Both were listed as "High Value Individuals tier 2", putting them near the top of the US "kill or capture" list. Ikhlas was believed to run the entire Taliban fighting machine in southern Afghanistan. [Guardian (UK), US forces hit target 'with no civilian deaths' – but Afghans tell different tale, 7/26/2010]
Obviously, despite the positive identification recorded in the logs, Ikhlas wasn’t there when the big bombs dropped. If he had been there, the US could not have killed him again and later captured him.
Afghanistan villagers say the US killed 300 innocent civilians and a couple of Taliban in that first strike.
This illustrates the power of the data. Most Afghans will not have access to it, but some will put the reports in context for everyone.The context is often pretty ugly.
Probably Europe and particularly the UK will be most moved by the reports of civilian deaths that will emerge (and have already emerged, for example, how facilely US soldiers shot up school buses and other innocents).