A key Cold War ally against Soviet expansion, Pakistan was
slapped with U.S. sanctions after testing nuclear weapons in 1998.
When it acted on behalf of the U.S. to threaten the Taliban, the
Bush administration last month relaxed sanctions. Pakistan backs
Muslim separatists fighting Indian troops in disputed Kashmir. Some
in the military are aligned with the countryís own
fundamentalists, raising fears Osama bin Laden or the Taliban could
get control of Pakistanís nuclear arsenal, or overthrow President
Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani army chief who seized power in a
coup in 1999.
Area: 310,400 square miles, almost twice the size of
Population: 142 million.
Religions: Muslim (Sunni 77 percent, Shiite 20 percent)
Christian, Hindu, and other, 3 percent.