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U.S. Strike Is Blow to Pakistan's Rulers; Islamic Ire Upsets Shaky Balance
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Military air strikes; Islam; Religious fundamentalism
Author: Constable, Pamela
Date: Aug 26, 1998
Start Page: A.15
Section: A SECTION

The government of Pakistan, struggling to please its Muslim constituents and neighbors without alienating its Western allies and donors, has been knocked off this precarious perch by the U.S. missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan last week, and it appears to have little idea of how to regain its footing.

The American strikes, and the Pakistani government's apparent acquiescence in them, have unleashed the passions of this country's splintered but growing militant Islamic movement. Outraged by what they view as a Western assault on Islam, a wide variety of Pakistani Muslim groups based in mosques, schools, military circles and political parties have held protests and blasted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a tool of the United States and Israel.

In addition, several of the purported terrorist training camps in Afghanistan that the U.S. missiles hit were filled with young Pakistanis, some of whom were wounded and sent to hospitals inside Pakistan, reportedly accompanied by Pakistani intelligence agents. Thus was exposed an open secret that Pakistani officials have long denied: their covert support of Muslim paramilitary groups fighting Indian troops in the disputed territory of Kashmir and assisting the radical Islamic Taliban that controls most of Afghanistan.

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