A major security breach reveals alleged "execution squads", an apparent plot to kill the Afghan president and previously unreported civilian deaths. Wikileaks editor Julian Assange speaks to Channel 4 News about his decision to leak the secret files online.
Channel 4 News has seen the classified documents but has been unable to independently verify their authenticity.
The extraordinary leak made public by whistleblowers' website Wikileaks has lifted the lid on more than 90,000 US military documents involving classified information direct from the battlefield in Afghanistan. It is the US army's secret war diary - 200,000 pages of it - written by soldiers on the frontline.
The files reveal previously classified information about civilian deaths, a mysterious "assassinations squad" named Task Force 373, an alleged Pakistani plot to kill President Karzai, evidence of suspected foreign support for the Taliban and countless daily incidents in which Nato troops are engaged by Taliban forces.
Click here to visit Wikileaks.org
The data gives a graphical record of the war from 2004 until the end of 2009, detailing thousands of US military operations. The leaks contain "cables" filed by US units, often within a couple of hours of combat.
The records contain logs of both civilian and military "kills" - pinpointing when and where a death happened. More than 20,000 deaths have been recorded overall.
Leaked files: Death toll (between 2004-2009)
The classified reports contain detailed logs of fatalities - both military and civilian.
Afghanistan expert and author Stephen Grey, who wrote Operation Snakebite, has analysed the data for Channel 4 News and calculated the number of deaths revealed in the report. Here is the breakdown:
Enemy killed: 15,506
Civilians killed: 4,232
Afghan Army (ANA) killed: 3,819
Nato forces killed: 1,138 (Currently 1,967)
Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, in an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News said he believes this is "the most comprehensive history of a war ever to be published - during the course of the war".
Read more from our exclusive interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
The White House has issued a statement to the New York Times "condemning" the leak. The US newspaper is focusing on Pakistan's alleged connections with Taliban insurgency.
It reads: "We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, [it] puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security.
"Wikileaks made no effort to contact the United States government about these documents, which may contain information that endangers the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who co-operate with us."
The 'underreporting' of civilian deaths by coalition forces
Some of the documents appear to indicate the "underreporting" of civilian casualties.
In 2008, a AC-130 "Spectre" gunship carried out a ground attack on the village of Azizabad in Herat Province. The target was a Taliban commander. The report at the time said that no civilians had died
. It only refers to 30 insurgents killed in action.
In fact, according to a UN report, 90 civilians died - 60 of them children as well as 15 women.
Meanwhile in September 2006, troops taking part in Operation Medusa moved into a large area around Panjwayi, west of Kandahar, and a known Taliban stronghold.
Read more on the incidents that led to previously unreported civilian casualties
A Nato report found that 31 civilians had died - 20 of them from the same extended family following an airstrike. The leaked documents record 181 deaths.
Top secret black-ops unit targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders on 'capture/kill lists'
In June 2007 a special forces unit - Task Force 373 - attempted to kill or capture a senior al-Qaida commander. The leaked secret report shows that the operation left seven children dead. The documents also reveals that "TF 373" were using deadly high-mobility artillery rocket systems - known as "Himars" missiles.
Julian Assange told Channel 4 News: "There are many reports discussing the assassination lists that the US military have - hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are on these lists."
So much for the credibility of UN Reports, they reported half the true number of civilian deaths in that airstrike and NATO reports are just an insult; 181 civilians actually died and they only reported 31 - This is what you call military censorship. Also its funny how they don't report ANA casualties and Contractor casulaties.