Washington, Feb.13 (ANI): The new director of national intelligence in the United States, Dennis C. Blair has reiterated that no significant improvement in Afghanistan is possible unless Pakistan regains control of its own border areas.
According to the New York Times, Blair told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Islamabad was losing authority over that territory and that even more developed parts of Pakistan were coming under the sway of Islamic radicalism.
He also warned that the global economic turmoil and the instability it could ignite had outpaced terrorism as the most urgent threat facing the United States.
Blair used his testimony to deliver a withering critique of the Afghan government's inability to halt the spread of the Taliban, and he said corruption in Kabul and throughout the country had bolstered support for the Taliban and warlords.
The stark assessment of the security picture in Afghanistan laid bare the obstacles facing the Obama administration as it aims to direct more American troops and attention toward quelling the violence in the country.
In a departure from recent years, when the heads of several intelligence agencies joined the director of national intelligence to deliver the testimony on the threats facing the nation, Blair faced the committee alone, a sign that the Obama administration plans for him to take on a more public role at the top of the intelligence pyramid.
He linked Pakistan's problems, in part, to the fact that it was among the countries most badly hurt by the economic crisis.
American officials say Pakistan's tribal areas remain home to the core leadership of Al Qaeda, though Blair said that its leadership had been battered in recent months by what he called "a succession of blows as damaging to the group as any since the fall of the Taliban in 2001."
"Kabul's inability to build effective, honest, and loyal provincial- and district-level institutions capable of providing basic services and sustainable, licit livelihoods erodes its popular legitimacy and increases the influence of local warlords and the Taliban," Blair said. (ANI)