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US keeps vigil on Pak nukes
Islamabad, Feb 28 (ANI):
Published on 1 Mar. 2009 12:07 AM IST
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The precarious political situation in Pakistan following the Sharif brothers’ disqualification, and the increasing influence of the Taliban, has prompted the Obama administration to maintain a strict vigil on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. `Taliban could take Karachi hostage at any point`Several serving and retired US officials have claimed that Washington has appointed special officers to look after Islamabad’s nukes, to ensure that they don’t fall into the hands of militant groups such as the Taliban and al Qaeda. These officials have confirmed that the nukes are in safe custody for the moment, but warned that a strict vigil is still necessary. “They are for now,” The Nation quoted a US official, as saying. They also revealed that Washington has expressed concern over the issue since the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Acting under US pressure, the Pakistan Army, after the 9/11, relocated its critical nuclear weapon components to six new secret locations. War-heads and delivery systems were kept widely apart from each other, and intensive surveillance was maintained on Pakistan’s nuclear labs and scientists. Technical teams from US have also reviewed and modernised several communication systems between Islamabad’s nuclear laboratories and their commanders. In the process, US technicians have got a hold of Pakistan’s command and control system. The officials also informed that in 2000, the Clinton administration had deployed a group of scientists to help Pakistan scientists to develop an unbreakable command and control code for its nuke arsenal. During the research and development work, Washington obtained a ‘pretty full knowledge’ of Pakistan’s command and control system, a former senior US intelligence official claimed.

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