N-armed Pak faces uncertain future: Romney



N-armed Pak faces uncertain future: Romney 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"In Afghanistan, after the United States and NATO have withdrawn all forces, will the Taliban find a path back to power?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