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Telegraph: Pakistan floods: an emergency for the West

Author: Ahmed Rashid, Journalist and Author, Lahore
August 12, 2010

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Pakistan's floods have not just devastated the lives of millions of people, they now present an unparalleled national security challenge for the country, the region and the international community. Lest anyone under-estimate the scale of the disaster, all four of Pakistan's wars with India combined did not cause such damage.

It has become clear this week that, unless major aid is forthcoming immediately and international diplomatic effort is applied to improving Pakistan's relations with India, social and ethnic tensions will rise and there will be food riots. Large parts of the country that are now cut off will be taken over by the Pakistani Taliban and affiliated extremist groups, and governance will collapse. The risk is that Pakistan will become what many have long predicted – a failed state with nuclear weapons, although we are a long way off from that yet.

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