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Pew Research Center: Concern About Extremist Threat Slips in Pakistan

July 29, 2010

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In this July 2010 survey report, the Pew Research Center examines Pakistani public opinion of the Taliban and al Qaeda, the United States, and national conditions in Pakistan.

Pakistanis remain in a grim mood about the state of their country. Overwhelming majorities are dissatisfied with national conditions, unhappy with the nation's economy, and concerned about political corruption and crime. Only one-in-five express a positive view of President Asif Ali Zardari, down from 64% just two years ago.

As Pakistani forces continue to battle extremist groups within the country, nearly all Pakistanis describe terrorism as a very big problem. However, they have grown markedly less concerned that extremists might take control of the country. Last year, at a time when the Pakistani military was taking action against Taliban forces in the Swat Valley within 100 miles of the nation's capital, 69% were very or somewhat worried about extremist groups taking control of Pakistan. Today, just 51% express concern about an extremist takeover.

More specifically, Pakistanis also feel less threatened by the Taliban and much less by al Qaeda. Last year, 73% rated the Taliban a serious threat, compared with 54% now. Roughly six-in-ten (61%) considered al Qaeda a serious threat last year; now, just 38% feel this way.

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