US fears deluge will allow terrorists to play havoc with its Pak policy

Washington, Aug.19 (ANI): The devastating floods in Pakistan , which have been stamped as the country's worst in the last 80 years, has hit the Obama administration's strategy concerning the 'problem country' hard, American officials have said.

The United States has had to face a tough situation dealing with a weak democratic government and a powerful military in Pakistan, and the deluge, which has inundated almost one-fifth part of the country, has raised fears that the Taliban and other extremist organisations would make gains by stepping in to provide emergency meals and shelter to the victims.

"It certainly has security implications," The New York Times quoted a senior American official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, as saying.

"An army that is consumed by flood relief is not conducting counterinsurgency operations," he added.

President Obama's Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke has already expressed concerns over the implications that the catastrophe has had over the strategic relationship with Islamabad.

"We're obviously not oblivious to the political and strategic implications of this catastrophe, but right now, we are fully focused on the emergency relief effort and trying to get a good assessment of the needs," Holbrooke said.

"Worse may be yet to come," he said while pointing towards the fact that several weeks remain in the monsoon season.

Bruce Riedel, the former CIA official who played an important role in formulating the White House' initial policy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, also warned that the floods are likely to tilt the balance in favour of extremists in Pakistan, rather than the government, which has, so far, failed to win the hearts of countrymen.

"If the flood proves to tilt the balance of power in Pakistan, it's more likely to tilt toward the militants than toward the government," Riedel said. (ANI)

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