The release, by Wikileaks, of tens of thousands of government documents concerning the U.S.-Afghan War gives us a massive and overwhelming quantity of data about the conflict. Most of the documents are ground level reports of encounters, attacks, IEDs, snipings, and so on. These are the daily happenings of a long war, the grunt’s eye view, written up for higher authority in language overwhelmed by acronym.
PROPAGANDA BEING DISTRIBUTED IN LASHKAR GAH, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN: MULLAH FAZUL RAHMAN, LEADER OF THE JAMIAT UL-LAHMAN PARTY IN PAKISTAN, NFI, IS PAYING UNIDENTIFIED INDIVIDUALS IN LASHKAR GAH (313487N 0642175E), HELMAND PROVINCE, AF, TO DISTRIBUTE PROPAGANDA IN A LETTER/NOTE FORM. THE PROPAGANDA MENTIONS HOW HOST NATION COMMANDERS THAT WORK WITH US FORCES, ARE THE SAME AS AMERICANS; THEREFORE, THEY SHOULD DIE. EACH LETTER OFFERS AN UNSPECIFIED AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR THE DEATH OF HOST NATION COMMANDERS AND AMERICANS. THE LETTERS ARE PLACED AT THE HOMES OF INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE KNOWN TO WORK WITH AMERICANS. NFI.
At 1006Z, TF Helmand reported a Mine Find:
FF were conducting a domination patrol when they discovered 3x AP mines in an irrigation ditch.
EOD will exploit as a routine task, No injuries or damages reported.
At 1601Z, TF Helmand reported:
The final report will be submitted through the CIED chain.
NFTR. Event closed at 1554Z.
At 1609Z, 2/7 USMC COY reported an IED Strike:
FF were conducting a mounted security patrol when the struck an IED. FF have assessed the BDA: 3x KIA (USA, OEF), 1x WIA (USA, OEF, CAT A). NFI att.
Others have highlighted some of the specific intelligence, and are wading through the reports to look at each individually. I thought I would use a chart to show the progression of the war:
The blue lines chart the number of “Enemy Actions” that coalition soldiers reported. The red line charts the number of IED encounters that coalition forces had.
The intensity of fighting seems to have picked up in 2006-2007, plateaued a bit in 2008, and then jumped again in 2009. I should qualify that by saying that action and IED reports may also track with the number of troops in Afghanistan (more troops may mean more encounters). Nonetheless, “Enemy Action” reports tripled from 2005 to 2006, doubled from 2006 to 2007, and then doubled again from 2008 to 2009. IED encounters followed a roughly similar pattern. Such a massive increase is hard for me to identify as anything other than the most obvious thing: that Afghanistan reignited in 2005-06, and that the U.S. was not, as of the end of 2009, winning the war.