"A stable, democratic, economically thriving Pakistan is considered vital to U.S. interests. U.S. concerns regarding Pakistan include regional terrorism; Afghan stability; weapons proliferation; the ongoing Kashmir problem and Pakistan-India tensions; human rights protection; and economic development. A U.S.-Pakistan relationship marked by periods of both cooperation and discord was transformed by the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the ensuing enlistment of Pakistan as a key ally in U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts. Top U.S. officials regularly praise Pakistan for its ongoing cooperation, although doubts exist about Islamabad's commitment to some core U.S. interests. Pakistan is identified as a base for terrorist groups and their supporters operating in Kashmir, India, and Afghanistan. In late 2003, Pakistan's army began conducting unprecedented counterterrorism operations in the country's western tribal areas. In 2006, Islamabad shifted to a strategy of negotiation with the region's pro-Taliban militants (combined with longer-term economic and infrastructure development in the region), a tack that has elicited skepticism in Western capitals and that appears to be failing. Pakistan's macroeconomic indicators have turned positive since 2001 and some meaningful poverty reduction has been seen in this still poor country."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33498