The United States has steadily increased its support of counter-insurgency campaigns by the government of Pakistan through direct military aid and training, and compensation for assistance to the U.S. war in Afghanistan. The U.S. has also used Pakistan as a major supply route for weapons, fuel, and material into Afghanistan, in addition to launching cross border attacks into Afghanistan from Pakistan’s territory.
This increased U.S. support has coincided with a dramatic escalation of the conflict between local Pakistani insurgents and their government. Most of the fighting is concentrated in the Northwest, near the border with Afghanistan, but the bloodshed not infrequently affects civilians throughout Pakistan.
The U.S. began its semi-covert campaign of drone strikes in 2004 to kill Al Qaeda and Taliban forces based in Northern Pakistan. The strikes are obscured by secrecy and are of questionable legality. There is also a debate about who and how many have been killed in the strikes. According to the highest estimates, these strikes have killed thousands of people.
Approximately 56,661 Pakistanis – civilians and opposition fighters – have been killed since 2001. Of these, about 23,300 are civilians.
A major war, with U.S. support and participation, has been ongoing in Pakistan.
Some suicide bombings in Pakistan are carried out in direct retaliation to U.S. drone strikes in the region.
(Page updated as of June 2021)