U.S. Struggling to Find New Pakistan Ally Against Taliban: NYT
Struggling to Find New Pakistan Ally Against Taliban
By JANE PERLEZ, New York Times, August 23, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Now that Washington’s close friend, President Pervez Musharraf, is gone, the question is this: who among the array of characters in the political firmament here will America turn to in the messy fight against an emboldened Taliban?
Mr. Musharraf, president and army chief for almost all of his nine-year tenure before he resigned Monday under threat of impeachment, served as a convenient one-stop shopping window.
The Bush administration relied on him for military support to suppress the Taliban in the tribal regions, and for intelligence in rounding up people suspected of belonging to Al Qaeda. In the end, it did not reap much of what it wanted. But Mr. Musharraf, the seemingly amenable autocrat, offered Washington a sense of leverage.
With Mr. Musharraf out of power, recent visitors to the United States Embassy here say American officials have been at a loss — one used the word “struggling” — to figure out who America should throw its weight behind.
On Friday, the country’s biggest party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, said it was nominating its leader, Asif Ali Zardari, for president, a post he may end up winning in an electoral college vote scheduled for Sept. 6.
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