Pakistan’s nuclear weapons stockpile could be STOLEN by ISIS terrorists
PAKISTAN’S nuclear weapons arsenal could fall into the hands of terrorist groups unless the volatile South Asian state bolsters security at strategic military bases, a high-ranking US official has warned.
The country has been developing a new stockpile of smaller battlefield weapons aimed at repelling threats from neighbouring India, which holds a larger, conventional nuclear arsenal.
But Pakistan is now being urged to beef up security around its nuclear bunkers amid increasingly bold threats from Islamic State to buy or steal atomic weapons or the material with which to make them.
The warning comes as world leaders meet for the Nuclear Security Summit, which for the first time will include a simulated nuclear terrorist attack.
Worryingly, Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif is not among the 50 presidents and prime ministers gathered in Washington today for the two-day meeting.
Rose Gottemoeller, the US under- secretary of state for arms control and international security, said: “We have made our concerns known and we will continue to press them about what we consider to be the destabilising aspects of their battlefield nuclear weapons programme.”
The event, hosted by Barack Obama, comes in the wake of last week’s Brussels massacre.
ISIS fanatics linked to those bombings are thought to have been plotting an attack on one of Belgium’s nuclear power plants after police found lengthy video footage revealing the country’s top nuclear official was being surveilled.
Western nations have been scrambling to improve their security procedures since the rise of rogue organisations such as ISIS, which has expressed an ambition to obtain a dirty bomb.
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser in the US, added: “We’ve seen over the years that different terrorist organisations have ambitions related to acquiring nuclear weapons.
“That’s why the summit process is so important, because different countries have different levels of security at their facilities or in terms of how they are handling nuclear materials.”
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