The Importance of Pakistan

| Mon Mar. 23, 2009 2:35 PM EDT

David Kilcullen, an Aussie military man who is (was?) a top adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, sat down with the Washington Post to talk about the war on terror. He emphasized, above all else, Pakistan.

What is the real central front in the war on terror?

Pakistan. Hands down. No doubt.

Why?

Pakistan is 173 million people, 100 nuclear weapons, an army bigger than the U.S. Army, and al-Qaeda headquarters sitting right there in the two-thirds of the country that the government doesn't control. The Pakistani military and police and intelligence service don't follow the civilian government; they are essentially a rogue state within a state. We're now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state, also because of the global financial crisis, which just exacerbates all these problems. . . . The collapse of Pakistan, al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover -- that would dwarf everything we've seen in the war on terror today.

You can see the whole thing here. Kilcullen, who is promoting a new book, also spoke with Wired's Danger Room.

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