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'Nuke-armed Pak may slip into radical hands'

In a rare appearance before a powerful US Congressional committee, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband today warned that a nuclear-armed Pakistan risked slipping into radical hands as the country was home to al-Qaeda leadership.

world Updated: Jan 22, 2010 13:56 IST

In a rare appearance before a powerful US Congressional committee, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband today warned that a nuclear-armed Pakistan risked slipping into radical hands as the country was home to al-Qaeda leadership.

"We know that Pakistan matters not just because it is the location for the Afghanistan Taliban leadership; it's also important in its own right. It's the base for al Qaeda, it's a nuclear weapons state with the long-term risk of radicalisation," Miliband said in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which had convened a special hearing on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"I believe that the last year has shown a major change in approach from the Afghan civilian and military leadership, recognising the mortal threat that's posed to the Pakistani state from within its own borders," he told the Senators at the meeting chaired by Senator John Kerry.

"The strategic reorientation of Pakistan has some way to go, but I believe that the efforts that are being made now in South Waziristan show the level of commitment that the Pakistani authorities are willing to devote to what is a long-term struggle for the survival of that country," he said.

Miliband said Britain believes that there is a real possibility of developing shared interests between the neighbors of Afghanistan and Afghanistan itself, founded on a commitment to respect the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan.