U.S.-Pakistan Relations

August 5, 2011 • Volume 21, Issue 28
Is the rocky alliance worth saving?
By Marcia Clemmitt


Pakistanis protest (AFP/Getty Images/Banaras Khan)
Pakistanis protest Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to Lahore on May 27, less than a month after U.S. Navy Seals killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. (AFP/Getty Images/Banaras Khan)

On May 2, U.S. Navy Seals raided a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 2001 terror attacks. While Americans hailed the Al Qaeda leader's death, some Pakistanis and Americans, including members of Congress, saw it as yet another betrayal in the rocky alliance between the two nations. Pakistanis considered the U.S. raid as a clear violation of their country's sovereignty; Americans say that bin Laden's ability to take refuge in a major Pakistani city — perhaps for as long as five years — reflected the country's duplicity. Some in Congress have called for ending aid to Pakistan — nearly $5 billion in fiscal 2010 — on the grounds that Pakistan has undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism. But others warn that halting aid could push nuclear-armed Pakistan further into chaos, thus opening a power vacuum that militants could fill.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 05, 2011  U.S.-Pakistan Relations
Dec. 2008  Crisis in Pakistan
Jul. 28, 1971  East Pakistan's Civil War
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia