Like many, I prepared myself to read through the reports on the Wikileaks’ massive document dump from the classified military files of the Af-Pak theater, expecting to find something exotic and new. Like many today, I suspect, I’m underwhelmed by the reality. The Washington Post reports that the main takeaways are that Pakistan’s intel forces continued their contacts and support of the Taliban, that the war effort was underresourced, and that the Taliban had heat-seeking missiles that could attack our helicopters … which the US provided Afghan fighters during the Soviet occupation.
In short, it’s the Long War Journal, only less detailed:
The more than 91,000 classified documents — most of which consist of low-level field reports — represent one of the largest single disclosures of such information in U.S. history. Wikileaks gave the material to the New York Times, the British newspaper the Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel several weeks ago on the condition that they not be published before Sunday night, when the group released them publicly.
Covering the period from January 2004 through December 2009, when the Obama administration began to deploy more than 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan and announced a new strategy, the documents provide new insights into a period in which the Taliban was gaining strength, Afghan civilians were growing increasingly disillusioned with their government, and U.S. troops in the field often expressed frustration at having to fight a war without sufficient resources.
The documents disclose for the first time that Taliban insurgents appear to have used portable, heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles to shoot down U.S. helicopters. Heat-seeking missiles, which the United States provided to the anti-Soviet Afghan fighters known as mujaheddin in the 1980s, helped inflict heavy losses on the Soviet Union until it withdrew its forces from Afghanistan in 1989.
Even the New York Times has trouble dressing up the reports as anything new or remarkable, try as they may (emphases mine):