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Deadly cargo: Concerns over Pakistan’s nuke security

Published time: November 05, 2011 13:30
Edited time: November 05, 2011 23:26
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons capable of destroying entire cities are reportedly transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads (AFP Photo / Adek Berry)

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons capable of destroying entire cities are reportedly transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads (AFP Photo / Adek Berry)

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, which are capable of destroying entire cities, are reportedly transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads. This makes the deadly weapons of mass destruction more vulnerable to theft by Islamist militants.

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Two American magazines, The Atlantic and The National Journal, have published a revealing report saying that Pakistan has begun moving its nuclear weapons in low-security vans.

The nukes travel “

in civilian-style vehicles, without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic.”

Moving nuclear weapons more often was one of the measures designed to protect nuclear weapons. According to the report Pakistan wants to hide part of its growing arsenal from the US itself, the country that actually funds much of Pakistan's military budget. After the raid on the city of Abbottabad which killed Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan's military chiefs were aware that America's military has developed plans for an emergency nuclear-disablement operation in their country, the report says.

But instead of moving their deadly arsenal in well-defended armored convoys, Pakistan’s Special Plans Division (SPD) prefers to move it around in civilian-style vehicles virtually without security.

At the same time the US claims that its main concern is “the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon,” adding that such actions as the SPD’s make nuclear weapons more vulnerable to being commandeered by terrorists. Citing both Pakistani and American sources, the report says that “since the raid on Abbottabad in May and the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Pakistanis have provoked anxiety inside the Pentagon by increasing the pace of these movements.”

Previously, however, Khalid Kidwai, the commander of the Pakistani security apparatus called the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), stated that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and other nuclear facilities are safe and remain under secure control.

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