From NBC's Robert Windrem
Pakistan's civilian and military leaders are tangling in a series of political confrontations that could lead to a constitutional crisis or worse after the New Year, officials in both Islamabad and Washington tell NBC News.
With the tenor and volume of debate rising over America's commitment to Afghanistan, that struggle is complicating U.S. strategy to stabilize the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It's not only that dozens are dying every week in suicide bombings or that there are concerns that the Pakistani military will not be able to hold the territory it has won in hard-fought battles in South Waziristan. The more profound issue, say Pakistani and U.S. officials, is the fate of President Asif Ali Zardari, who is engaged in a seemingly never-ending battles with the country's powerful military and intelligence establishments.
In recent weeks, say officials, opponents of Zardari have begun raising the stakes, setting up what some are calling a "soft coup … a legislative coup" -- an attempt to force Zardari out. How does this all play out in terms of relations with the U.S.? Often, the Americans are caught in the middle.
NBC producer Amna Nawaz recently returned from Pakistan. You can watch and read some of her work from here trip here.
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