A stable, democratic, prosperous Pakistan actively combating religious militancy is considered vital to U.S. interests. U.S. concerns regarding Pakistan include regional and global terrorism; efforts to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan; nuclear weapons proliferation; the Kashmir problem and Pakistan-India tensions; democratization and human rights protection; and economic development. Pakistan is praised by U.S. leaders for its ongoing cooperation with U.S.-led counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts, although long-held doubts exist about Islamabad’s commitment to some core U.S. interests. A mixed record on battling Islamist extremism includes ongoing apparent tolerance of Taliban elements operating from its territory, although some evidence from early 2010 suggests a possible shift here.
The increase in Islamist extremism and militancy in Pakistan is a central U.S. foreign policy concern. The development hinders progress toward key U.S. goals, including the defeat of Al Qaeda and other anti-U.S. terrorist groups, Afghan stabilization, and resolution of the historic Pakistan-India rivalry that threatens the entire region’s stability and that has a nuclear dimension. Long-standing worries that American citizens have been recruited and employed in Islamist terrorism by Pakistan-based elements have become more concrete in recent months, especially following a failed May 2010 bombing attempt in New York City.
A bilateral Pakistan-India peace process was halted after a November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai was traced to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group. At the time of this writing, the process appears to be resuming, but serious mutual animosities persist. Pakistan is wary of India’s presence in Afghanistan, where Islamabad seeks a friendly government and has
The history of South Asia is laden more with the incidents of hostilities than with the memories of friendship. Zooming in, between Pakistan and India, the arch rivals, enmity overrides empathy. At the hostility level, between Pakistan and India, the Cold War era (1947-1991) was a characteristic of at least two full scale wars in 1965 and 1971 while the post-Cold War era experienced only a ...