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An Afghan bone for Obama to chew on

By M K Bhadrakumar
When Robert Blackwill, who was former United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's deputy as national security adviser and George W Bush's presidential envoy to Iraq, took the podium at the International Institute of Strategic Studies think-tank in London on Monday to present his "Plan B" on Afghanistan, readers of the Wall Street Journal would have wondered what was afoot.

Blackwill is wired deep into the bowels of the US establishment, especially the Pentagon headed by Robert Gates. And the IISS prides itself as having been "hugely influential in setting the intellectual structures for managing the Cold War". Thus, the setting on Monday was perfect.

Blackwill has remarkable credentials to undertake exploratory

voyages into the trajectory of US foreign policy. In a memorable opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal in March 2005 titled "A New Deal for New Delhi", he accurately predicted the blossoming of the US-India strategic partnership. He wrote:
The US should integrate India into the evolving global non-proliferation regime as a friendly nuclear weapons state ... Why should the US want to check India's missile capability in ways that could lead to China's permanent nuclear dominance over democratic India? ... We should sell advanced weaponry to India ... Given the strategic challenges ahead, the US should want the Indian armed forces to be equipped with the best weapons systems ... To make this happen, the US has to become a reliable long-term supplier, including through co-production and licensed manufacture arrangements.
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Without freedom of expression and freedom of media, democracy does not have any meaning!

A discussion about access to information with Mr. Fayaz Mehrayeen the political and social analyst.

Mr. Mehrayeen is the senior advisor of Governor of Balkh province. He is the author of many articles in the fields of political and social issues. Mr. Mehrayeen delivers constantly lectures and presentations to the academic and civil society groups.

By: Farkhonda Arezo Aabi, Journalist and human rights activist in Mazar e Sharif

Question: Mr. Mehrayeen! In your point of view what is access to information and what kind of situation does it need?

Answer: In my point of view access to information creates transparent, free and fluent relationship between state and citizens. Access to information means access of citizens to state resources, documents and information that foster the culture of transparency and accountability in the government structure.

Question: What are the proper policies for institutionalizing of access to information?

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