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100 days on, Obama’s grave concern is Pak
Posted on: 30-04-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

 "I'm confident that we can make sure that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure, primarily, initially, because the Pakistani Army, I think, recognises the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands," he said on Wednesday during a prime time news conference on his 100th day in office.

"We've got strong military-to-military consultation and cooperation," he said when asked if he could reassure the American people that, if necessary, US 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.

But the President said he was "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."

He was "more concerned that the civilian government there right now is very fragile and don't seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services...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," said Obama whose administration is planning to give Islamabad an annual non- military aid package of USD 1.5 billion for the next five years.

Earlier, during a town hall meeting in Arnold, Montana on Wednesday, Obama said Taliban and al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan and Pakistan pose "the single most direct threat" to US national security interests.

Barack Obama has signalled he is operating under the assumption that Osama bin Laden is still alive, despite remarks by Pakistan's President saying intelligence service believes the al Qaeda leader has died.

At a town hall meeting in the central US state of Missouri, Obama yesterday defended his decision to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan to battle a bloody insurgency despite objections from fellow Democrats.



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