A week or so ago, I noticed some of your readers were nervous about the fate of Pakistani’s nuclear arsenal. While some concern remains, the following facts should be noted.
As early as 2000, the Clinton administration created a joint commission, a liaison group, consisting of American and Pakistani scientists. The purpose of this group was to help the Pakistanis create command and control codes for the use of such weapons that would be unbreakable. In the course of such work, America basically gained full knowledge of Pakistan’s command and control system.
The US then used snatch teams to kidnap Pakistani scientists who were peddling Pakistan’s nuclear technology or knowledge of it to undesirables. A bunch of such scientists disappeared from Burma while traveling, for example. But the kidnaping disrupted the alleged 200 links between the Pakistan nuclear community and terrorists such as al Queda. Other Pakistanis sympathetic to al Qaida Sultan Bashiruddin, a much decorated scientist for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, were arrested and interrogated.
The US had thoroughly infiltrated the nuclear procurement-peddling ring without telling the Pakistanis about it, which is why the US got Libya to abandon its program and why Iran, another Pakistan client, disclosed its own activities to the IAEA..
After 9/11, American aid to the Pakistanis to safeguard and control its nuclear arsenal was stepped up, with Bush using the proposed $3 billion in US aid as a bludgeon. Pakistan has 40 nuclear weapons, but within two days of the attacks, Pakistan’s military began to secretly relocate critical nuclear weapons components to six new secret locations, known to the Bush administration. When Pakistan joined the war on terrorism, it submitted to additional US oversight.
Lastly, Musharaff shuffled top military and intelligence personnel just before the US attack on Afghanistan on October 7. A new Pakistani Strategic Planning Division was set up, headed by a three-star general to supplement the control of such weapons by the National Command Authority.. There were also changes made to keep nuclear technology out of the hands of jihadis in the event Musharaff was assassinated. The US again had a big part to play in this.
So while the nukes of any country are allegedly in danger of hijacking, apparently the new safeguards are such that the slightest error in procedure renders the weapon null and void, a system much like the one the Russian used with their portable nuclear weapons systems.
So for now, the danger of jihadis seizing a Pakistan nuke seem minimal.
With greetings to all,