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Taliban’s threat to overrun Pak “weighing heavily on Obama’s mind”

Washington, Apr.24 (ANI): Worried and highly concerned by the Taliban’s invasion into new territories inside Pakistan, the United States has warned Islamabad that its failure to take stern action against the expanding writ of the insurgents may endanger the relationship between both the countries, as well as the US strategies in Afghanistan.

According to a report in the Washington Post, US President Barack Obama is very concerned over the issue.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that the issue was taking ‘a lot’ of President Obama’s time.

“The news over the past several days is very disturbing,” Gibbs said.

Obama also called on a special meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke to discuss the issue.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, while expressing concerns, said that it was very important for Pakistan to not only recognize the threat which looms large over its existence, but also to take appropriate action to deal with the issue.

“Pakistani stability is central to U.S. efforts in neighboring Afghanistan, and it is also central to our future partnership with the government in Islamabad,” Gates added.

With Pakistan pre-occupied with political issues which saw President Zardari’s popularity dip drastically over the past two months, and his rival Nawaz Sharif’s rising, the US administration has urged for resolution of those political issues so that more attention can be paid to the rising extremist threat.

America is also pressing Pakistan to redirect its military to focus away from the eastern border with India, toward the Taliban and al-Qaeda breeding grounds along its western border.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is recalibrating the schedule drawn up for a May 6 and 7 trilateral meeting between the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The summit was conceived in an atmosphere that has now changed significantly, and the focus is increasingly on Pakistan,” Hoolbrooke said. (ANI)

Given the history of military coups that Pakistan has, the Obama administration is also worried about Pak President Asif Ali Zardari’s absence from home to take part in the trilateral summit.

“We inquired twice whether Zardari was concerned about leaving Pakistan.Both times we were told no,” a top US official said. (ANI)

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