A retired American General, who was the head of US and Coalition forces in Afghanistan, has said the events in Pakistan are spiraling out of control and the Obama Administration is not left with many options.
"Pakistan today presents the United States with its greatest global strategic challenge," Lt Gen David Barno told the House Armed Services Committee in his testimony on "Effective Counterinsurgency: The Future of US-Pakistan Military Partnership."
Barno, who headed the coalition forces from 2003-2005, said as the second largest Islamic country in the world, with a population exceeding 160 million people, and a nation armed with nuclear weapons, a meltdown of the government and society in Pakistan would rapidly become the preeminent national security threat facing the United States.
"Events in Pakistan today are spiraling out of control and our options in reversing this downward trend are limited at best. I would say that a struggle for the very soul of Pakistan has begun and the state of Pakistan has a very weak hand to play in this conflict," he said.
Compounding the challenge to the Pakistani state is the internally conflicted nature of Pakistan regarding this extremist threat, Barno, now serving as Director of New East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defence University, said.