A space-time analysis of the WikiLeaks Afghan War Diary: A resource for analyzing the conflict-health nexus

Andrew Curtis, Xinyue Ye, Kevin Hachey, Margaret Bourdeaux, Alison Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Although it is widely acknowledged that areas of conflict are associated with a high health burden, from a geospatial perspective it is difficult to establish these patterns at fine scales because of a lack of data. The release of the "WikiLeaks" Afghan War Diary (AWD) provides an interesting opportunity to advance analysis and theory into this interrelationship. Methods: This paper will apply two different space time analyses to identify patterns of improvised explosive devices (IED) detonations for the period of 2004 to 2009 in Afghanistan. Results: There is considerable spatial and temporal heterogeneity in IED explosions, with concentrations often following transportation links. The results are framed in terms of a resource for subsequent analyses to other existing health research in Afghanistan. To facilitate this, in our discussion we present a Google Earth file of overlapping rates that can be distributed to any researcher interested in combining his/her fine scale health data with a similarly granular layer of violence. Conclusion: The release of the AWD presents a previously unavailable opportunity to consider how spatially detailed data about violence can be incorporated into understanding, and predicting, health related spillover effects. The AWD can enrich previous research conducted on Afghanistan, and provide a justification for future "official" data sharing at appropriately fine scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Health Geographics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 16 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Afghanistan
  • Conflict health
  • GIS
  • Polio
  • Spatio-temporal analysis
  • WikiLeak


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