Islamic Militants Seek Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal

This today at the BBC:

In one of the latest cables to be released by Wikileaks, senior UK Foreign Office official Mariot Leslie told US diplomats in September 2009 that Britain had “deep concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons”. In another cable seven months earlier, US ambassador to Islamabad Anne Patterson told Washington: “Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in government of Pakistan facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon.” Another cable concerning a US intelligence briefing in 2008 said: “Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world.”

And, by the estimate of one Russian diplomat, Islamic militants are pursuing a two-pronged approach to getting access to nuclear weapons. Here’s the BBC again:

The latest cache of messages shows that Russia shared US and UK concerns over Pakistan. Yuri Korolev of the Russian foreign ministry told US officials in February that “Islamists are not only seeking power in Pakistan but are also trying to get their hands on nuclear materials”. “There are 120,000-130,000 people directly involved in Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes. There is no way to guarantee that all are 100% loyal and reliable,” he said.

Nuclear proliferation remains one of the gravest threats to the advance of human civilization in the 21st century, and WikiLeaks has done an enormous service in bringing the issue into greater public consciousness. Honest thought, brought into the air and sunlight, is good.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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