Top ex-US diplomat likens Pakistan to Cuban missile crisis

By Staff Writers
SpaceWar.com

One of the report's conclusions was that US policy had largely failed in Pakistan because Washington had not put enough pressure on its key ally in the so-called
One of the report's conclusions was that US policy had largely failed in Pakistan because Washington had not put enough pressure on its key ally in the so-called "war on terror" to stamp out extremists based there.

The rise in Islamist militancy in Pakistan could become the biggest threat to world peace since the Cuban missile crisis, a former senior US diplomat said here Thursday, May 7.

Washington's former ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, said the scale of extremism in Pakistan was now so great that it was "inevitable" that the international community would have to deal with it in the years to come.

"The situation in Pakistan today, with Pakistan according to public accounts having 80 nuclear weapons and lots of nuclear material, is potentially the most dangerous international crisis since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis," he said.

The warning came as Blackwill presented Indian business leaders with a Rand Corporation think-tank report published earlier this year on the lessons of the Mumbai attacks last year.

One of the report's conclusions was that US policy had largely failed in Pakistan because Washington had not put enough pressure on its key ally in the so-called "war on terror" to stamp out extremists based there.

The banned Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is said to have trained, equipped and financed the 10 gunmen who carried out the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and left more than 300 others injured.

Blackwill, now a senior fellow and adviser at the Rand Corporation, said it was "only a matter of time" before the increasingly well-trained products of Pakistan's "terrorist factory" carried out another Mumbai-style attack.

Pakistan is currently under increasing international pressure to crush the militants but only the government in Islamabad could deal with the threat effectively, he added.

"I hope that the Pakistanis themselves will see that the most imminent danger of this is to them... but so far, they have not been willing to do so," said Blackwill, who was Washington's top diplomat in New Delhi from 2001-03.

7 May 2009 — Return to cover.
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