Page last updated at 23:32 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 00:32 UK

Petraeus warns on Pakistan threat

General David Petraeus on the threat facing Pakistan

Militants in Pakistan pose a threat to the country's existence, according the the American General, David Petraeus.

Speaking in London after meeting the UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, the commander of US Central Command said Pakistan had to deal with the problem.

He went on to say he would help Pakistan make a a sustained commitment to deal with the militants.

His comments come amid tension between the US and Islamabad over American attacks on militants inside Pakistan.

'Existential threat'

US forces in Afghanistan have conducted a number of cross-border operations targeting militants based in neighbouring northwest Pakistan.

The Pakistani authorities say civilians have been killed in those attacks.

More recently, Pakistani troops have opened fire on American military helicopters as they tried to cross the border into the country.

Gen Petraeus was recently promoted to head the US Central Command.

"They (Pakistan) clearly have a threat," he said, "the nature of which and the importance of which is increasingly being recognised by those in Islamabad."

"You have heard the newly elected President Zadari. You've heard the army chief and others all recognise that this is in a sense an existentialist threat, this is a threat to Pakistan's very existence," the general added.

"It is one with which they must deal. Now they can deal with it in a comprehensive manner," Gen Petraeus continued, saying that there would be Pakistani solutions to the problems and that Pakistan should be supported as it tries to tackle the militants in the country.

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