On the Edge: A Nation with Nukes


An anti-American demonstration in Peshawar, Pakistan

It was George W. Bush on the phone. His language was friendly but firm as he asked President Pervez Musharraf on Sept. 11 if Pakistan could help hunt down Osama bin Laden. The choices facing Musharraf were stark: if he refused, America would consider it the worst kind of betrayal, and Pakistan would suffer harsh consequences. If he agreed, there would be enormous trouble at home; many Pakistanis believe bin Laden is not a terrorist but a true warrior of the Islamic faith who must be shielded from the U.S. at all costs. Friends say that Musharraf, 58, a low-key soldier...

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