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Pakistan Turning on al Qaeda?

2:42 PM, Feb 11, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The Washington Times reports:

According to the poll results, only 24 percent of Pakistanis approved of bin Laden when the survey was conducted last month, compared with 46 percent during a similar survey in August.

Backing for al Qaeda, whose senior leaders are thought to be hiding along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, fell to 18 percent from 33 percent.

Support for the Taliban, whose Pakistani offshoots have seized control of much of the lawless border area and have been engaged in a growing war against security forces, dropped by half to 19 percent from 38 percent, the results said.

It's easy to see why support for al Qaeda and the Taliban might be on the decline given the spread of violence from the Northwest Frontier Province into the country's more settled districts. And it's also interesting to see that Pakistanis apparently don't draw much of a distinction between the Taliban and al Qaeda, or at least that's what I surmise from the results. But the real question is whether the erosion of support for the two groups will lead to increased political will for meaningful action on the part of the government. If it doesn't, this may not matter much. After all, al Qaeda's not running a slate of candidates for parliament--they're trying to overthrow the government.

HT: Murdoc