August 14, 2009 in Nation/World

Dislike of Taliban grows in Pakistan

Associated Press

ISLAMABAD – Pakistanis’ views on the Taliban have shifted dramatically in the past year, with 70 percent now opposing the militants, according to a new poll.

The United States doesn’t fare well either, with 64 percent of Pakistanis seeing Washington as an enemy.

The mounting unpopularity of the Taliban coincides with an explosion of militant violence in Pakistan – attacks have killed more than 2,500 people since the start of 2008 – and the extremists’ attempts to expand their reach and impose a harsh interpretation of Islam in new parts of the country.

Pew Global Attitudes, a project of a nonpartisan research center based in Washington, released the poll Thursday.

In 2008, 27 percent of Pakistanis surveyed had a favorable view of the Taliban, and 33 percent saw them unfavorably. The rest had no opinion.

A year later, only 10 percent approved of the Taliban. Some 70 percent disapproved – more than double than in 2008. The numbers for al-Qaida followed a similar sinking trajectory, with support for the terrorist network at just 9 percent.

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