Monday, January 7, 2008

Pakistanis see US as greatest threat

By Jim Lobe
Asia Times

"As if the US needed another reminder of its unpopular presence, a recent survey has found that a huge majority of Pakistanis feel the US is a more dangerous threat than al-Qaeda or the Taliban. It's yet another black eye for an administration reportedly eager to ramp up covert operations in the country, a move some say could trigger "tremendous backlash".

WASHINGTON - Amid reports that the administration of US President George W Bush is considering aggressive covert actions against armed Islamist forces in western Pakistan, a new survey released here Monday suggested that such an effort would be opposed by an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis themselves.

The survey, which was funded by the quasi-governmental US Institute of Peace and designed by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, also found that a strong majority of Pakistanis consider the US military presence in Asia and neighboring Afghanistan a much more critical threat to their

country than al-Qaeda or Pakistan's own Taliban movement in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan.

Only five 5% of respondents said the Pakistani government should permit US or other foreign troops to enter Pakistan to pursue or capture al-Qaeda fighters, compared to a whopping 80% who said such actions should not be permitted......."

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