Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Pakistani President's Worries
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told US Vice President Joe Biden that he was worried the powerful military in his country might 'take me out,' according to US diplomatic cables published in US and British newspapers on Tuesday.
Zardari's comments reflect the influential role the Pakistani military holds in a country with a long history of coup d'etats, and further raises questions about the effectiveness of civilian rule. It was unclear whether Zardari's comments suggested he could be killed or merely forced out of office.
The US cables from the embassy in Islamabad were part of a massive cache of internal American diplomatic correspondence acquired by WikiLeaks and distributed to a handful of news organizations, including Indian, British, German and US newspapers and in France and Spain too.
More than 250,000 documents were being released this week despite the strong objections of the US government, which considers them stolen and says their public release undermines international diplomacy.
The cables underscore the difficult relationship between the United States and Pakistan and US skepticism about whether Islamabad is fully committed to defeating Islamic extremism despite billions of of dollars in annual military and civilian aid.