The Taliban’s Nuclear Desires

Taliban's Nuclear Aspirations

Kahuta, Pakistan- As the Pakistani army battles Taliban militants just 60 miles from Islamabad in Swat, Pakistan, one question frightens intelligence experts around the world: How safe are Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from getting in the hands of the Taliban?

Pakistan has roughly 100-150 nuclear warheads, and they are guarded by an elite army unit that is screened for loyalty. The prevailing expert opinion is that as long as the Pakistani army holds together and does not show signs of cracks, then these weapons are in well guarded secret locations.

However, Pakistan’s nuclear research and production facilities are another story. Kahuta, which is Pakistan’s main research and development complex, covers many square miles and employs thousands of workers. It is also simply the biggest of more than a dozen sites around the country. It was also the workplace where disgraced former scientist A Q Khan managed to sell nuclear blueprints and technology to several rogue regimes including Libya and North Korea.

There are concerns that the militants have made determined efforts to infiltrate some of these nuclear facilities, perhaps even applying for jobs there. Taliban militants, Al-Qaeda operatives and other extremists may not be able to get their hands on any warheads at these facilities as they are not kept there, but even a little leftover uranium to make a dirty bomb could have serious consequences and plenty of terror for the region and the world. Pakistan and its ally the United States must ensure that the government of Asif Ali Zardari have all the resources and safety measures in place to ensure that nothing like this ever occurs as the ramifications of such a breach would be catastrophic.

Reported by Manzer Munir for www.PakistanisforPeace.com

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