U.S. Relations With Pakistan

Fact Sheet
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
August 16, 2013

For the most recently published version of this fact sheet, see //2009-2017.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/.

More information about Pakistan is available on the Pakistan Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States has had diplomatic relations with Pakistan since its 1947 independence from the United Kingdom. The two countries' common interest in peace and stability in South Asia has informed their relationship over the decades. In the context of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the United States provided military aid to Pakistan to modernize its conventional defensive capability. However, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program caused the United States to suspend military assistance in 1990.

The September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States by Afghanistan-based terror group al-Qaida led to closer coordination between Pakistan and the United States on security and stability in South Asia. Pakistan pledged cooperation with the United States in counterterrorism efforts, which included locating and shutting down terrorist training camps within Pakistan's borders, cracking down on extremist groups, and withdrawing support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The United States resumed a close security partnership with the Pakistani military and law enforcement. In 2004, the United States recognized its closer bilateral ties with Pakistan by naming Pakistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally.

Since 2001, Pakistan has provided assistance in counterterrorism efforts by capturing more than 600 al-Qaida members and their allies. In May 2011, the leader of al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden, was killed by U.S. forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Following the tragic accidental killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a November 2011 cross-border incident involving the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF), Pakistan closed the ground lines of communication (GLOC) to U.S. and NATO cargo for a period of eight months which, in turn, led to a significant slowing of U.S. security assistance. In March 2012, Pakistan's parliament approved policy recommendations for revised terms of engagement with the U.S. and ISAF following a review of U.S.-Pakistan relations. The ground lines of communication were reopened in July 2012; the regular flow of security assistance resumed. On a visit to Islamabad in July-August 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of a Strategic Dialogue with Pakistan in order to foster a deeper, broader, and more comprehensive partnership.

U.S. Assistance to Pakistan

The U.S. Congress passed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (often referred to as “Kerry-Lugar-Berman,” or “KLB,” after its co-sponsors) in October 2009 in order to demonstrate the U.S. long-term commitment to cooperation with the Pakistani people and their civilian institutions. Between October 2009 and July 2013, the U.S. disbursed over $3.55 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan, including over $1 billion of humanitarian assistance following natural disasters floods and conflict.

U.S. civilian assistance to Pakistan is focused on five priority areas: energy; economic growth, including agriculture; community stabilization of restive areas; education; and health. These priorities were determined in consultation with the Government of Pakistan. The U.S. implements programs with Pakistani partners, including the Government of Pakistan, civil society, and private sector actors to increase local capacity and promote sustainability of efforts. Thus far, U.S. contributions have added over 1,000 megawatts to Pakistan’s electricity grid through infrastructure upgrades, rehabilitation, and policy consultation; led to the launch of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PPII), which will provide seed funding to small and medium sized enterprises in Pakistan; and funded over 650 kilometers of roads in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These results and others promote our mutual goal of a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan.

Bilateral Economic Relations

In 2012, Pakistan's exports to all countries were estimated at $24.63 billion and its imports at $39.81 billion. In 2012, the United States accounted for 13.3% of the country's exports, the most of any country, and $1.5 billion of its imports. Bilateral trade between the United States and Pakistan exceeded $5 billion. The United States is also one of the top sources of foreign direct investment to Pakistan, with $223 million in FY 2012. Pakistan has taken steps over the years to liberalize its trade and investment regimes, either unilaterally or in the context of commitments made with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank. It is relatively open to foreign investment, but its ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index continues to sink, largely due to issues of governance and the ongoing energy crisis. In October 2012 and June 2013 the United States and Pakistan organized bilateral business opportunities conferences in London and Dubai respectively. Major U.S. investments are concentrated in fast-moving consumer goods, construction, chemicals, energy, and communications.

Pakistan's Membership in International Organizations

Pakistan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, WTO, IMF, and World Bank. Pakistan is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan is Richard G. Olson. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Pakistan maintains an embassy in the United States at 3517 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-243-6500). It has consulates in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Houston.

More information about Pakistan is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Pakistan Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Pakistan Page
U.S. Embassy: Pakistan
USAID Pakistan Page
History of U.S. Relations With Pakistan
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information