WikiLeaks, the Pentagon and the War in Afghanistan

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

This week, the website WikiLeaks published more than seventy-five thousand American military documents on the war in Afghanistan. These documents from the Army and Marine Corps included secret reports from the past six years.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the problems they describe are not new. But he says their release could harm troops and damage American relationships in that part of the world.

He says intelligence sources and methods will become known, and Afghans who have helped American forces may now be in danger.

Some of the documents suggest that members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency are helping insurgent groups in Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies that. And Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says: "These are not new allegations."

JOHN KERRY: "We have been wrestling with these allegations, and we have made some progress."

But a vote in Congress this week showed weakening support for President Obama's war policy among members of his own party.

More than one hundred Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against an emergency spending measure. It included thirty-three billion dollars to send more troops to Afghanistan.

But the bill passed with strong Republican support. The president requested the money in February and the Senate agreed in May.

Democrat David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, explained why he could not support the measure.

DAVID OBEY: "Military experts tell us that it could take up to ten more years to achieve any acceptable outcome in Afghanistan. We have already been there nine years. I believe that is too high a price to pay."

Sixty-six deaths made July the deadliest month yet for American troops in Afghanistan.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Katherine Cole.


Includes reporting by Jennifer Glasse, Sean Maroney, Suzanne Presto, Cindy Saine, Robert Raffaele and Dan Robinson

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