Recent threats by the Bush administration to cut off billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan have sparked panic in government circles. Likewise, according to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington, military strikes by the United States aimed at Al Qaeda and Taliban havens inside Pakistan’s tribal areas would destabilise Pakistan and “possibly could bring [General Pervez Musharraf] down.” But how worried should the Pakistani authorities really be in the face of growing US pressure to root out Islamic militants?

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