N-armed Pak faces uncertain future: Romney

Last Updated: Friday, October 7, 2011 - 22:51

Washington: Armed with "more than 100 nuclear
weapons," Pakistan is facing an uncertain future with
increasing projections of radical Islamist groups gaining
ground, a leading US presidential candidate from the
Republican party said on Friday.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, said
Pakistan "awaits the uncertain future, armed with more than
100 nuclear weapons."

"The danger of a failed Pakistan is difficult to
overestimate, fraught with nightmare scenarios: Will a nuclear
weapon be in the hands of Islamic Jihadists?" he asked in a
major foreign policy speech, as he made it clear that if
elected he would order a full inter-agency review of the
Af-Pak policy of the Obama Administration.

A fact sheet issued by Romney underlined that Pakistan
should understand that "any connection between insurgent
forces and Pakistan’s security and intelligence forces must be
severed".

His hardline foreign policy position comes amid mounting
pressure on Pakistan by the Obama administration to do more to
combat the Haqqani terror network blamed by it for series of
attacks on American assests, including the attack on American
Embassy in Kabul last month.

"In Afghanistan, after the United States and NATO have
withdrawn all forces, will the Taliban find a path back to
power? After over a decade of American sacrifice in treasure
and blood, will the country sink back into the medieval
terrors of fundamentalist rule and the mullahs again open a
sanctuary for terrorists, he asked.

Romney`s speech, which had reference to all major
countries and regions of the world, but for India.

On the emergence of a powerful China, Romney said Beijing
has made it clear that "it intends to be a military and
economic superpower".

"Will her rulers lead their people to a new era of
freedom and prosperity or will they go down a darker path,
intimidating their neighbors, brushing aside an inferior
American Navy in the Pacific, and building a global alliance
of authoritarian states the Republican presidential
candidate asked.

The fact sheet said America’s mission in Afghanistan is
to eliminate al Qaeda from the region and degrade the Taliban
and other insurgent groups to the point where they are not
existential threats to the Afghan government and do not
destabilize Pakistan.

The objective is to ensure that Afghanistan will never
again become a launching pad for terror.

Romney will, the fact sheet said in his first 100 days,
order a full interagency review of our transition in
Afghanistan.

The Republican White House hopful promised to review
"our military and assistance presence to determine the level
required to secure our gains and to train Afghan forces to the
point where they can protect the sovereignty of Afghanistan on
their own."

He said the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan
under a Romney administration will be based on conditions on
the ground as assessed by our military commanders.

The fact sheet said working with the Afghan government
and Pakistan, it will use US leverage "to ensure that those
nations are fully contributing to the success of our mission".

It said it will made clear to Afghan President Hamid
Karzai that American commitment must be met with "reciprocal
efforts to crack down on corruption in his government, respect
free and fair elections as required by the Afghan
constitution, and coordinate with the US on fighting the
narcotics trade that fuels the insurgency".

PTI



First Published: Friday, October 7, 2011 - 22:43

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