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Updated: February 11, 2010 18:32 IST

'Pakistan is my greatest concern'

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U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden. File photo: AP.
U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden. File photo: AP.

Washington US Vice-President Joe Biden, today said that his greatest concern was not Afghanistan nor threat of Iran turning nuclear but Pakistan, which he said had a significant radicalised population and only a “functional democracy“.

“I think its a big country that has nuclear weapons that are able to be deployed. It has a real significant minority of radicalised population”, Mr. Biden said in an interview to CNN.

Pakistan is not “a completely functional democracy in the sense we think about it, and so that is my greatest concern” the US Vice-President said.

Mr. Biden’s comments come as US and NATO troops are all set to undertake their biggest offensive on Marjah to retake the Helmand Valley from the Taliban and pressure being exerted by the Obama Administration on Pakistan to widen its crackdown on the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other militant groups.

It also comes as US officials have long expressed concerns and apprehensions that elements in the Pakistani establishment support extremists, despite a military campaign against Taliban in border areas.

The remarks by Mr. Biden also come in the backdrop of recent testimony by US military and intelligence chief before the Congress that “vulnerabilities exist” in safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

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