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In Pakistan, Americans as targets

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At press time, only four bodies had been identified – including two Barbara Green and her daughter, Kristen, who are the wife and daughter of a US diplomat. The fifth body has not been claimed or identified, and Pakistani police – who welcomed the arrival of FBI investigators this week – say they believe this body, identified by eyewitnesses as a young Afghan or Pakistani man, is the missing assailant.

Musharraf's adminstration recognizes that its crackdown on Islamic militant groups is creating tensions here.

"A backlash or a violent reaction in certain areas was expected," says Lt. Gen. Rashid Qureishi, spokesman for Musharraf, adding that the "majority of Pakistanis believe in freedom of expression" and Musharraf's policies.

"Whether this [attack] was against Americans or foreigners in general, or on non-Muslims, is hard to say.... But there are those elements who would like to destabilize Pakistan because of its support of the war in Afghanistan."

One of the central dilemmas now for Musharraf, who came to power in 1999 in a bloodless coup, is whether to continue this crackdown in a bid for law and order, or to let some steam out of the political pressure cooker by abiding by his nation's Constitution and lifting political constraints ahead of elections this October.

His choice is not an easy one. If Musharraf allows the law-and-order situation to deteriorate further, he will lose the interest of foreign investors who can create jobs, and the confidence of allies such as the US.

Even after numerous presidential speeches to the nation, anti-American sentiment continues to linger – although with top religious and militant leaders, this sentiment has been muted. A separate and annual dispute between two rival Muslim sects, Sunnis and Shiites, has threatened to destabilize Pakistan even more, as sporadic murders from Karachi to Islamabad have led to 70 deaths thus far.

Elections planned in October
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