Political chaos in Pakistan could spell major danger for the US, as weakened President General Pervez Musharraf fights to keep Taliban and al-Qaeda forces—as well as the nation's numerous nuclear weapons—in check. One White House official called Pakistan's potential destabilization a "nightmare scenario" that appears to be more likely after devastating bombings this week, reports the New York Times.
American influence in Pakistan, weak to begin with, is expected to ebb even further as Musharraf loses political ground. A State Department official criticized the administration's dealings with Pakistan, saying the relationship never "stitched together" and was not part of a "strategic vision." Observers worry that a year of chaos could destroy President Bush's last chance to flush Osama bin Laden from the territory where he has regrouped.