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Jeffrey Gedmin Discusses Afghanistan & Pakistan At The New America Foundation

RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin discusses his recent trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan at The New America Foundation, June 24, 2010
RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin discussed his recent trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan in an event titled, "Af-Pak Diary: Notes from Islamabad and Kabul" at the New America Foundation. Gedmin shared his observations on U.S. policy in the region, RFE/RL's broadcasting in the countries, and the importance of promoting press freedom, tolerance and pluralism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The event was moderated by Steve Clemons, Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and publisher of The Washington Note (view a photogallery).

Watch the event:

While in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gedmin met with religious leaders, intellectuals, and and politicians - including Afghan President Hamid Karzai. His takeaway from the visits was that, despite pervasive corruption and poverty and a constant threat of terrorism, "both Afghanistan and Pakistan have a decent constituency for moderate political thought, for pluralism, and a political culture that promotes and defends tolerance." To support this constituency, Gedmin noted, the U.S. needs "a robust, comprehensive strategy that supports civil society" in the region
both Afghanistan and Pakistan have a decent constituency for moderate political thought

Gedmin said that he had seen widespread anti-Americanism in Pakistan and described the expansive political power of the military in the country as both "an essential part of the solution and essential part of the problem."

Gedmin also announced a joint RFE/RL-ISAF initiative that will see some 20,000 solar-powered radios delivered to rural areas of Afghanistan in time for the country's Fall parliamentary elections.

You can see an archive of the proceedings - 140 characters at a time - on RFE/RL's Twitter feed.