for the past few days the guardian have bombarded me with apparent revelations with the war in afghanistan via wiki leaks. ‘THE TRUE NATURE OF WAR!’, ‘LEAK EXPOSES REAL WAR!’, etc etc etc, blah blah. the thing is though, for anyone that has paid any interest towards the conflict and the history of the region, these revelation will come as no surprise. the paper appears to be making a fuss over the existence of special forces to hunt down taliban leaders for “kill or capture” without trial, the use of reaper drones, increased civilian casualties, and a whole batch of other apparently game changing facts. the real fact is though, this is modern warfare against an insurgency that has, to a certain degree, time, space, support and legitimacy. it isn’t easy. the inherent cruelty of war doesn’t prevent its occurrence, and to pretend that it could be rendered humane in any event ( by ethics or law) is absurd. war is awful and people die, but nato do try to minimise civilian casualties (as is the case with counterinsurgency). is it surprising that the coalition doesn’t publicly release stats on every civilian causality? not really. the other main factor causing a fuss is pakistani involvement with the taliban. these accusations have been around since the formation of the latter, and is really a non-story. from zia’s islamisation of society in the 70’s, a holy war in kashmir, influence in afghanistan, a security obsession with india, and musharraf’s stunted and failed war on terror, the links have been there. accusations of involvement have constantly plagued pakistan - whether it was involvement in the attacks in kabul and mumbai in 2008, or attacks in kabul and U.S accusations of them providing money and supplies in 2009. at least more people are talking about it now, i guess.