The "biggest" foreign-policy challenge awaiting US President-elect Barack Obama is "Pakistan" as its "turbulent border" region posed a threat not only to American forces in Afghanistan but also India and the world beyond, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley has said.
"The biggest foreign-policy challenge awaiting President-elect Barack Obama isn't Iraq or Afghanistan but Pakistan," Hadley was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal.
In an interview with the journal, previewing a valedictory speech he plans to give today, he said "Pakistan's increasingly turbulent border region poses a threat not just to the US mission in Afghanistan, but also to neighboring India as evident by the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks, as well as to urban areas of the country itself and the world beyond".
If the extremists succeed in destabilising Pakistan, the resulting chaos will threaten the entire region, Hadley told the the paper.
"You can't really solve Afghanistan without solving Pakistan and that's why I think Pakistan is at the center" of the challenge for the incoming administration, he added.
In his speech, Hadley is also expected to acknowledge challenges for the US in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as in efforts to curb Iran's apparent nuclear ambitions, the paper said.
Iran remains the biggest problem in the Middle East and US progress in mending fences with Western Europe means that the next administration should be able to enforce tougher sanctions on the country, he stated.