In the wake of rapid Taliban advances

Washington: The Obama administration has warned that Pakistan posed a “mortal threat” to the U.S. and the world in the wake of rapid Taliban advances and bluntly told Islamabad it was “abdicating” power to the militia and extremists by agreeing to Islamic law in parts of the country.

The advance of the Taliban, which has moved within 100 km of Islamabad by taking control of Buner district just outside the capital region, has stunned the U.S.; as reflected in the strong remarks of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who also said it posed an “existential threat” to Pakistan.

Pakistan on Thursday deployed specialised paramilitary forces to protect important personalities and sensitive installations in Buner and nearby areas.

Reports indicated heavily-armed Taliban militants were patrolling the streets and had set up check points.

Deteriorating security in nuclear-armed Pakistan “poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world,” Ms. Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

In her remarks — the strongest yet from Washington — Ms. Clinton also asked the Pakistani government and Pakistanis at home and abroad, including in the U.S., to “speak out forcefully against a policy [Swat peace accord] that is ceding more and more territory to the insurgents”.

Concern was also expressed over the recent developments in Pakistan by Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman who told Ms. Clinton that the U.S. could not allow a free run for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the tribal regions and let them rapidly expand their territorial control. — PTI