A collapse of the pact would likely please Obama administration officials pressing Islamabad hard for more robust action against extremists threatening stability in Pakistan and U.S. and NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan.
President Asif Ali Zardari called for more foreign support for cash-strapped Pakistan to prevent any danger of its nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of al-Qaeda and its allies.
Paramilitary troops killed 20 suspected militants yesterday, and a total of 46 had died since the operation began, an army statement said. Troops were combing the Maidan area of the district, it said. Some terrified residents have fled the area clutching no more than their children and a few belongings. At least one soldier was killed Sunday.
A spokesman for the Taliban in their Swat Valley stronghold denounced the operation as a violation of the pact and said their fighters were on alert and waiting to see if a hard-line cleric who mediated the deal pronounced it dead. "The deals with Islamabad are worthless because Pakistani rulers are acting to please Americans," the spokesman said.