A whopping 69 percent of Pakistanis are worried that extremists will take control of the country, Pew reports in a new survey. Yes--69 percent. A few months ago, around the time Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari came to Washington, visited the White House along with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and sat for an interview on "Meet the Press," discussion was raging in the U.S. about a potential collapse of Pakistan, and whether President Obama would, at some point, have to face that epic security problem--was Zardari strong enough to keep the Taliban at bay?; would nukes go loose? The wisdom of an "Af/Pak" strategy was questioned. Since then, Pakistan has launched a major offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley and declared it a success (to the skepticism of Richard Holbrooke)...and concerns about Pakistani collapse died down, or at least receded as a popular topic of debate. Well, according to Pew, Pakistanis aren't so confident. Now, the good news: they don't like the extremists. In 2008, 33 percent of Pakistanis held a negative view of the Taliban and 34 percent held a negative view of al Qaeda. Now, 70 percent and 61 percent dislike those groups, respectively. So they're worried, but at the same time the Taliban appears grossly unpopular.
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