Leaked US diplomatic cables reveal that British officials initially considered Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari a "numbskull" who would not last long in office. In cables released Saturday by the WikiLeaks website, British officials offer a pessimistic assessment of Pakistan's prospects faced with financial turmoil and Taliban violence.
Zardari is the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, assassinated in late 2007. He was elected president in September 2008.
The next month, then head of the British military Jock Stirrup told US officials that although Zardari has "made helpful political noises, he's clearly a numbskull."
But the next month a British diplomat said Zardari had done "surprisingly well" and the UK had underestimated him.