In a tough message to Pakistan, US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama on Wednesday said he would be ready to order military strikes against "high-value terrorist targets" in that country if there are "actionable intelligence", even without Islamabad's permission.
Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the terrorist training camps, evicting foreign fighters and preventing the Taliban from using the country as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan, the Illinois Senator said.
"Let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again...If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President (Pervez) Musharraf won't act, we will," he said in prepared remarks to be delivered at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Obama said in excerpts from the speech released by his 2008 presidential campaign.
However, he said he would make hundreds of millions of dollars in US military aid to Pakistan conditional on the country doing more in the anti-terror front.
"I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan."
Obama's tough words to Islamabad must be seen in the context of an image that his opponents in the 2008 race, like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, have been trying to portray -- that the Illinois Democrat is somehow inexperienced and naive when it comes to foreign policy.