Unrest in Pakistan Raises Concerns in Washington
The recent outbreak of violence in Pakistan has drawn criticism of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto from within her homeland and has raised concerns in the U.S. about Pakistan’s leadership and future. Twin explosions, apparently targeting Bhutto during her auspicious return Thursday from an eight-year self-imposed exile, killed over 130 and wounded hundreds more.
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International Herald Tribune:
Some officials worry aloud that a year of unrest, violence and political intrigue in Pakistan may undercut Bush’s last chance to root out Osama bin Laden from the lawless territory where Al Qaeda has regrouped, and could cripple a renewed administration effort to turn around the war against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.
If serious divisions emerge in Pakistan’s military, they could also threaten the security of the country’s potent nuclear arsenal, something that Bush administration officials worry about far more than they let on publicly.
Over the past year, the Musharraf government has quietly sent officials to Washington to assure Bush administration officials that even if the general were ousted or assassinated, the mechanisms for controlling both weapons and nuclear technology – safeguards that Pakistan acknowledges it has put together with aid from other countries – are unbreakable.
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