Following the release of more than 90,000 classified military documents on whistle-blowing site Wikileaks, founder Julian Assange took part in a special event at the Frontline Club.
Assange talks about the impact of the documents that were released in partnership with The Guardian, The New York Times and German paper Der Spiegel which chronicle in minute detail U.S. military operations in the country between 2004 and 2010.
He also discusses the journalistic implications of the way the information has been released as well as talks through the possibilities for journalists and citizens using the vast amount of data available online.
Julian Assange is an Australian journalist, programmer and Internet activist, best known for his involvement with Wikileaks, a whistleblower website.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange says his organization is not concerned with whether the sensitive information it leaks to the public poses a threat to U.S. national security. "States have national security concerns, we do not," says Assange. "We have concern for human beings."
Country, south-central Asia. Area: 249,347 sq mi (645,807 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 28,150,000. Capital: Kabul. About two-fifths of the people belong to the Pashtun ethnic group; other ethnic groups include Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazara. Languages: Pashto, Persian (both official). Religions: Islam (official; predominantly Sunni); also Zoroastrianism. Currency: afghani. Afghanistan has three distinctive regions: the northern plains are the major agricultural area; the southwestern plateau consists primarily of desert and semiarid landscape; and the central highlands, including the Hindu Kush, separate these regions. Afghanistan has a developing economy based largely on agriculture; its significant mineral resources remain largely untapped because of the Afghan War of the 1980s and subsequent fighting. Traditional handicrafts remain important; woolen carpets are a major export. Afghanistan is an Islamic republic with two legislative bodies; the president is head of both state and government. The area was part of the Persian Achaemenian Empire in the 6th century BCE and was conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE. Hindu influence entered with the Hephthalites and Sasanians. Islam became entrenched during the rule of the Saffarids, c. 870 CE. Afghanistan was divided between the Mughal Empire of India and the Safavid empire of Persia until the 18th century, when other Persians under Nadir Shah took control. Britain fought several wars in the area in the 19th century. From the 1930s the country had a stable monarchy, which was overthrown in the 1970s. Marxist reforms sparked rebellion, and Soviet troops invaded. Afghan guerrillas prevailed, and the Soviets withdrew in 1989. In 1992 rebel factions overthrew the government and established an Islamic republic. In 1996 the Taliban militia took power in Kabul and enforced a harsh Islamic order. The militia's unwillingness to extradite extremist leader Osama bin Laden and members of his al-Qaeda militant organization following the September 11 attacks in 2001 led to military conflict with the U.S. and allied nations, the overthrow of the Taliban, and the establishment of an interim government.
Series of wars in Afghanistan during the 19th, 20th, and early 21st centuries. In the 19th century Britain twice invaded Afghanistan (the first and second Anglo-Afghan Wars; 183940 and 187880). The British were unable to fully subdue the country, and the third Anglo-Afghan War (1919) led to its full independence. The outbreak of civil war in 1978 led to an invasion by the Soviet Union the following year (the Afghan War). For the next 10 years the Soviets supported the communist government against a coalition of Islamic insurgents, the mujahideen, who toppled the regime in 1992. A group of disaffected fighters known as the Taliban had taken control of most of the country by 1996. The ensuing stalemate was broken in 2001 when the U.S. overthrew the Taliban for supporting international terrorism.