POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON May 01, 2009 AT 15:31 IST ,  Edited At: May 01, 2009 15:57 IST

Photo courtesy The Official White House Photostream

The echoes are getting louder. First President Obama:

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I want to move to Pakistan. Pakistan appears to be at war with the Taliban inside their own country.  Can you reassure the American people that, if necessary, America could secure Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and keep it from getting into the Taliban's hands or, worst-case scenario, even al Qaeda's hands?

THE PRESIDENT:  I'm confident that we can make sure that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure -- primarily, initially, because the Pakistani army I think recognizes the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands.  We've got strong military to military consultation and cooperation.  I am gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan not because I think that they're immediately going to be overrun and the Taliban would take over in Pakistan; more concerned that the civilian government there right now is very fragile and don't seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services -- schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of people.  And so as a consequence it is very difficult for them to gain the support and the loyalty of their people.So we need to help Pakistan help Pakistanis.  And I think that there's a recognition increasingly on the part of both the civilian government there and the army that that is their biggest weakness.On the military side you're starting to see some recognition just in the last few days, that the obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided, and that their biggest threat right now comes internally.  And you're starting to see the Pakistan military take much more seriously the armed threat from militant extremists.We want to continue to encourage Pakistan to move in that direction.  And we will provide them all the cooperation that we can.  We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don't end up having a nuclear armed militant state.

Q    But in a worst-case scenario --

THE PRESIDENT:  I'm not going to engage --

Q    -- military, U.S. military could secure this nuclear --

THE PRESIDENT:  I'm not going to engage in hypotheticals of that sort.  I feel confident that that nuclear arsenal will remain out of militant hands.  Okay?  [Whitehouse.gov]

And then, Fred Kaplan in Slate:

Pakistan's military and intelligence apparatus have done so little to confront the Taliban in any serious way—because doing so would throw into question their commitment to Islam. (They have done battle against al-Qaida, which can be portrayed as a foreign threat.) It explains why they have refused to deploy many troops on the northwestern border with Afghanistan—because that would require withdrawing a lot of troops from the southeastern border with India. And it explains why they have never prepared for counterinsurgency campaigns—because that would distract attention from the political need for external threats.

More here

POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON May 01, 2009 AT 15:31 IST ,  Edited At: May 01, 2009 15:57 IST
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Daily Mail
Digression
4/D-68
Nov 04, 2009
02:27 PM
Ashesh, Thank you for your comments. Now you can understand why our Army was so reluctant to move against the TTP in S.Waziristan. It was scared of this ensuing bloodbath, to which the US has no concern. No doubt the Army (with help from US) is fully responsible for this mess. Hopefully they have learnt their lesson, not to use non-state actors (terrorists) for achieving national goals.

Pakistan's nuclear seems a very favourite topic for many including the US. They just love to discuss how they can prevent "Pakistan's nuclear from falling into the wrong hand, specially the Islamist Jihadists".
It is music to their ears (with volume at full blast) !
Nadir Osman
Lahore, Pakistan
3/D-168
May 02, 2009
11:00 PM
West in general and USA in particular is obsessed with Taliban. It is , in fact, USA who is responsible for this whole mess and bloodbath in Pakistan. Dear Mr. Obama ,history is witness to USA's obsessive hegemonic geo-political ambition destabilizing the region wherever USA intervened .E.g. Somalia, Panama, Colambia,Vietnam,Palestine, Afganistan ,Iraq... for your quick recollection Mr. Obama. You can disown all these Mr. Obama. But I am afraid coming generation will forgive USA. May god bless you with wisdom.
Ashesh Kumar
Jamshedpur, India
2/D-123
May 02, 2009
02:00 AM
The ethenic riots and murders happening in Pakistan out number such happening in India by some ten to one. Yet I don't hear a peep from our so called secular media or by muslim leaders in India. The Shia muslims of Pakistan are usually at the short end of the stick in these ethenic riots, yet even Shia muslim leaders in India are quite. Over all, through out the world, a lot more muslims are being killed by other muslims than by any other religious group, yet that does not bother world's muslim leaders but they talk about Gujarat riots as if it happened last Friday or go crazy over some cartoons.
P.B. Joshipura
Suffolk, Virginia, United States
1/D-92
May 01, 2009
11:34 PM
pakistan is obsessed with india.

muslims in india are obsessed with the rss.
their real problems are internal. a dogmatic
religion and a community controlled by clerics,
and backward leaders.
banitoadolfo
roma, Italy
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