Pakistan's political crisis could complicate fight against Taliban
The Pakistan political crisis worries the US government, which considers a strong Pakistan government key to winning its war in neighboring Afghanistan.
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Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani talked to opposition leaders Monday in an attempt to keep his government afloat after a key party left his coalition. The political upheaval could distract the government from its fight against militant groups, including the Taliban.
The US considers Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting the Taliban key to winning its war in neighboring Afghanistan, and will not be pleased by a government too weak, unpopular, or preoccupied to concentrate on the task.
Bloomberg reports that Mr. Gilani, of the Pakistan’s People’s Party, talked with the leader of the second-largest opposition group in Parliament Monday after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) left Gilani’s ruling coalition the same day. The departure left the coalition without a parliamentary majority. The MQM’s departure is a second blow after a smaller party, the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam, left the coalition last month.
The United States, which has pumped military aid into Pakistan since 2001, pledged billions of dollars in 2009 to help shore up the civilian government, whose stability the Obama administration views as key to success in the Afghanistan war. The Taliban and al-Qaeda are based in Pakistan's border region, from where they launch attacks on NATO troops. But homegrown militants pose a rising threat to the Pakistani state.
The Post adds that widespread popular anger at the government – which could happen if legislative deadlock occurs – has in the past led to military coups in Pakistan.