A former CIA official has said Pakistan is probably the most dangerous country for the world as it is ripe with threats of terrorism, a failing economy and the fastest growing nuclear arsenal.
“While Pakistan is not the most dangerous country in the world, it is probably the most dangerous country for the world, and as such, a serious case for close and continued US engagement with Pakistan can be made,” Kevin Hulbert, a former top intelligence officer who retired in June 2014 , wrote in an op-ed in The Cipher Brief.
“As a country ripe with the triple threat of terrorism, a failing economy, and the fastest growing nuclear arsenal, Pakistan has the potential to create more nightmare scenarios for US policymakers than any other country,” Hulbert said.
Hulbert previously served multiple overseas tours as CIA chief of station and deputy chief of station.
The CIA official went on to say, “Like it or not, Pakistan is similar to a bank or company considered too big to let fail because of the ripple effect it might cause across the entire economy.”
Claiming that the spectre of the sixth largest country in the world being a failed state is a hypothetical catastrophe that would unleash a world of unintended consequences, the ex-CIA official said, “Rather than risk it, and as much as we might like to move on, we really should increase the level of engagement with Pakistan, not decrease it.”
Hulbert said many of the trend lines in Pakistan now seem to be “moving in the wrong direction.”
“For years, Pakistan felt justified in its use of t militias to attack India in a war of attrition,” he continued.
However, Hulbert said, “The good news on Pakistan is that al Qaeda’s core in Pakistan’s troubled Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is largely destroyed. The US government has decimated al Qaeda and its extremist allies in the Fata, and it is telling that none of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s named successors are located in Pakistan. It is also telling that in order to stay alive, Zawahiri has isolated himself to the point of being irrelevant. He cannot communicate with his followers, he provides no command and control, and it takes him weeks, sometimes months, to respond in any meaningful way to current events.”
Today, Pakistan finds itself in a very complicated security situation where there is little differentiation among radical groups, he noted.
“Terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, are suddenly allied with al-Qaeda, while Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Pakistan Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, and other assorted miscreants and non-state actors are intent on bringing down the elected government of Pakistan,” he added.
This article originally appeared on The Cipher Brief.