ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's U.S.-allied ruling party suffered a fresh blow to its fragile hold on power yesterday when a coalition partner said it will quit the Cabinet, potentially distracting Islamabad from helping American forces target militants.

New elections could lead to the emergence of a government not so friendly to U.S. interests.

The country's new leaders still will be faced with a feeble economy, chronic power shortages and rebuilding after this year's horrendous flooding.

And they'll have to navigate the delicate partnership between their military and the U.S., which provides billions in aid, to target al Qaeda and Taliban fighters who use Pakistani territory to stage attacks on Western troops in neighboring Afghanistan.