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‘US will strike Pak if needed’

world Updated: Jan 26, 2009 23:23 IST

The Obama administration has inherited “a real mess” in Afghanistan and an increase in US casualties is likely as troops try to reclaim territory, Vice-President Joe Biden said on Sunday. He said if there is an actionable target of high-level al Qaeda personnel, US will not hesitate attack inside Pakistan.

“Because of failure to provide sufficient resources, economic, political and military, as well as failure to get a coherent policy among our allies, the situation has deteriorated a great deal,” Biden said on CBS News' Face the Nation. “The Taliban is in effective control of significant parts of the country they were not before.”

Moreover, roughly 95 per cent of the world’s opium and heroin comes out of Afghanistan, and corruption is rife within the country's police forces, Biden said. “Some of our allies who have committed to train these troops did not do them well.”

Biden was asked whether President Barack Obama would continue to authorise missile strikes into Pakistan from Afghanistan. “I can't speak of any particular attack, I can’t speak of any particular action — it’s not appropriate for me to do that,” he said.

“But I can say that the president of the US said during his campaign and in the debates that if there is an actionable target, of high-level al Qaeda personnel, that he would not hesitate to use action to deal with that.”

Two missiles fired from drones killed about 20 people in Waziristan on Friday. Pakistani officials said the dead included some civilians.

Biden said there are going to be some additional military forces in Afghanistan. “There are going to be additional efforts to train their police and to train Afghan army. And all of that means we're going to be engaging the enemy more now.”

Asked if more American casualties should be expected, Biden said: “I hate so say it, but yes, I think there will be... an uptick.” Biden, former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, visited Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq shortly before he asumed office.