New War Rumors: U.S. Plans To Seize Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ajtr, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    New War Rumors: U.S. Plans To Seize Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal

    SATURDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2010 13:00 WRITTEN BY RICK ROZOFF


    Two recent news items emanating from the United States have begun to reverberate in Pakistan and give rise to speculation that growing American drone strikes and NATO helicopter attacks in that country may be the harbingers of far broader actions: Nothing less than the expansion of the West's war in Afghanistan into Pakistan with the ultimate goal of seizing the nation's nuclear weapons.

    The News International, Pakistan's largest English-language newspaper, published a report on October 13 based on excerpts from American journalist Bob Woodward's recently released volume "Obama's Wars" which stated that during a trilateral summit between the presidents of the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan on May 6 of 2009 Pakistani head of state Asif Ali Zardari accused Washington of being behind Taliban attacks inside his country with the intent to use them so "the US could invade and seize its nuclear weapons." [1]

    Woodward recounted comments exchanged at a dinner with Zardari and Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (2007-2009), to Iraq (2005-2007) and Afghanistan (2003-2005). Khalilzad was also a close associate of Jimmy Carter administration National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, architect of the U.S. strategy to support attacks by armed extremists based in Pakistan against Afghanistan starting in 1978, when he joined the Polish expatriate at Columbia University from 1979-1989.

    The baton for what is now Washington's over 30-year involvement in Afghanistan was passed from Brzezinski to Khalilzad in the 1980s when the latter was appointed one of the Ronald Reagan administration's senior State Department officials in charge of supporting Mujahedin fighters operating out of Peshawar in Pakistan. He joined the State Department in 1984 on a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship and worked for Paul Wolfowitz, then-Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at Foggy Bottom. His efforts were augmented by the Central Intelligence Agency's deputy director at the time, Robert Gates, now U.S. defense secretary. Two of their chief clients, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, are founders and leaders of Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin and the Haqqani network, against whom Gates' Pentagon is currently waging war on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

    According to Woodward's account of the Pakistani president's accusations to Khalilzad in May of last year, "Zardari dropped his diplomatic guard. He suggested that one of...two countries was arranging the attacks by the Pakistani Taliban inside his country: India or the US. Zardari didn’t think India could be that clever, but the US could. [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai had told him the US was behind the attacks, confirming the claims made by the Pakistani ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence]." [2]

    Khalilzad, whose résumé also includes stints at the Defense Department, the National Security Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Endowment for Democracy, the RAND Corporation (where he assisted in establishing the Middle East Studies Center) and the Project for the New American Century, reportedly took issue with Zardari's contention, which led to the latter responding that what he had described "was a plot to destabilize Pakistan," hatched in order that, according to Woodward's version of his words, "the US could invade and seize [Pakistan's] nuclear weapons."

    The account stated Zardari "could not explain the rapid expansion in violence otherwise. And the CIA had not pursued the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, a group known as Tehrik-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan or TTP that had attacked the government. TTP was also blamed for the assassination of Zardari’s wife, Benazir Bhutto."

    In the Pakistani president's words: “We give you targets of Taliban people you don’t go after. You go after other areas. We’re puzzled."

    When Khalilzad mentioned that U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan "were primarily meant to hunt down members of al Qaeda and Afghan insurgents, not the Pakistan Taliban," Zardari responded by insisting “But the Taliban movement is tied to al Qaeda...so by not attacking the targets recommended by Pakistan the US had revealed its support of the TTP. The CIA at one time had even worked with the group’s leader, Baitullah Mehsud," Zardari asserted. [3] (Three months later a CIA-directed drone strike killed Mehsud, his wife and several in-laws and bodyguards.)

    In August of 2009, while still commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, then-General Stanley McChrystal issued his classified COMISAF (Commander of International Security Assistance Force) Initial Assessment which asserted the "major insurgent groups in order of their threat to the mission are: the Quetta Shura Taliban (05T), the Haqqani Network (HQN), and the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HiG)." [4] The first is an Afghan Taliban group which as its name indicates is based in the capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province.

    Steve Coll, Alfred McCoy and other authorities on the subject have documented the CIA's involvement with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani: That they were shared with if not transferred by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence to the CIA as private assets. Coll has additionally claimed that Haqqani sheltered and supported Osama bin Laden starting in the 1980s.

    At the meeting between Obama, Zardari and Karzai in May of 2009, the American president slighted his two counterparts for alleged lack of resolve in prosecuting the war on both sides of the Durand Line, although even as he spoke Pakistan was engaged in a major military assault in the Swat Valley which led to the displacement of 3 million civilians.

    Four days after the dinner exchange between Zardari and Khalilzad, the Pakistani president appeared on the May 10 edition of NBC's Meet the Press on a program which also included Afghan President Karzai and Steve Coll, now president and CEO of the New America Foundation and author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004) and The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century (2008).

    Zardari's comments to his American audience included the claim that the Taliban “was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and the CIA created them together. And I can find you 10 books and 10 philosophers and 10 write-ups on that...." [5]

    That the leaders of the other two armed groups identified by McChrystal - Haqqani and Hekmatyar - were among the three Mujahedin leaders financed, armed and trained by the CIA (the late Ahmed Shah Massoud being the third), makes the pattern complete: Robert Gates the defense secretary is leading a war against forces that Robert Gates the deputy director of the CIA earlier supported through one of the Agency's longest and most expensive covert programs, Operation Cyclone.

    After retiring from public life, George Kennan, the main architect of U.S. Cold War policy, cited a line he ascribed to Goethe to warn that in the end we are all destroyed by monsters of our own creation. To emend Voltaire, the White House rather than God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

    Woodward's account of last year's comments by Pakistan's president and Zalmay Khalilzad could be dismissed as merely anecdotal if not for an article that appeared in the New York Post on October 3 and developments in Pakistan itself over the past six weeks.

    Arthur Herman, a visiting scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, stated in an article entitled "Our Pakistan problem: Obama's approach is failing" that "The bitter irony is that even as Obama is trying to get out of the war in Afghanistan, he may be heading us into one in Pakistan."

    The author detailed that whereas in 2009 the U.S. launched 45 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) attacks inside Pakistan, it had tripled that number by the time his article appeared, and that half as many as last year's total strikes had been launched this September alone.

    Also mentioning the NATO helicopter attack in the Kurram Agency of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas on September 30 which killed three members of the Frontier Corps and that "Raids by the CIA's Counterterrorism Pursuit Team - with its 3,000 Afghan troops - into Pakistan are also becoming routine," Herman warned:

    "All this adds up to a US effort in Pakistan highly reminiscent of the one we undertook in Laos in the 1960s - one of the springboards into the Vietnam quagmire.

    "If Obama's growing pressure on Pakistan destabilizes that government, the only thing keeping that country's nukes out of the hands of al Qaeda may have to be US troops. That's a shooting-war scenario that will make Obama wish his name was Lyndon Baines Johnson." [6]

    Herman attributes the expansion of the Afghan war into Pakistan at a qualitatively more dangerous level to the machinations of former CIA officer and current Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution Bruce Riedel and the commander of 152,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan General David Petraeus.

    A report of October 13 documented that since Petraeus took command of the war effort in Afghanistan in June there has been a 172 percent increase in U.S. and NATO air strikes, from 257 assault missions in September of 2009 to over 700 last month. In addition, "Surveillance flights increased to nearly three times the number from September 2009 and supply flights are up as well....Petraeus is sometimes seen as more willing to risk the so-called 'collateral damage' of civilian deaths....[7]

    Last month's drone attacks were the most in any month since the targeted assasinations were started in 2004 and the amount of deaths they caused - over 150 - the highest monthly total to date.

    By the middle of this month there have been at least eight drone attacks and no fewer than 66 people killed.

    According to Steve Coll's New America Foundation, 1,439 of the 1,844 deaths caused by drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004 have occurred in 2009 and so far this year. [8]

    Similarly, the deaths of 1,111 of 2,160 U.S. and NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 occurred in the same period. Seventeen foreign soldiers were killed between October 13 and 16 alone.

    On October 13 the Pakistani press reported that NATO helicopters, until then operating solely in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (in four attacks between September 25-30 against the Haqqani network), violated the nation's airspace over the province of Balochistan, leading Islamabad to lodge a formal protest with NATO.

    Since the revelations from Bob Woodward's new book and the publication of Arthur Herman's article, commentaries in Pakistani newspapers have appeared which indicate the seriousness with which recent developments and even more ominous portents are being viewed.

    An October 13 feature in The Nation stated that "the ongoing war on terror in Afghanistan is aimed to take the operations into Pakistani territory....The real target is Pakistan’s nuclear potential; they [the U.S. and NATO] have no plausible security threat from the ill-equipped Taliban or ragtag extremists."

    Commenting on the New York Post feature cited earlier, Pakistani commentator A R Jerral further claimed that what "Herman suggests in his write-up is in fact a policy direction to the US administration. He implies that the policy of sending drones and attacking militant hideouts in the Pakistan territory has not worked....[T]he thrust is Pakistan’s nukes. It is a tacit way to tell the policymakers in Washington to keep the pressure on our country, which will weaken the Pakistani government’s standing, causing instability. That will provide the reason for the US troops to move in."

    He added: "We know about the drone attacks as these are reported in the media, but what we do not know and our media does not report is the fact that US-led NATO forces are launching crossborder raids into Pakistan....For this, CIA is operating Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams in Afghanistan.

    "These teams are regularly mounting ground raids into Pakistani territory."

    "In this way, things are getting hot as far as the war on terror is concerned. Pakistan is moving to become centre stage in this war. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA and NSC [National Security Council] official, has advised Mr Obama to shift the focus of war 'from Afghanistan to Pakistan'; this is what we are witnessing in the shape of heightened war effort into the Pakistan territory." [9]

    A Pakistani commentary of the preceding day stated: "[W]e have...been dragged into giving the US access to Balochistan from where it has been attempting to destabilise the Iranian regime through support for the terrorist group Jundullah....Even more threatening, unless we change course now, we will have lost the battle to retain our nuclear assets because that is where the NATO-US trail is eventually leading to."

    "The free-wheeling access to US covert military and intelligence operatives, both officials and private contractors, is another destabilising factor that we seem to be unable or unwilling to check. And now there are the NATO incursions into our territory and targeting of even our military personnel, which shows how servile a state we are living in at present. [10]

    As the war in Afghanistan, the largest and longest in the world, proceeds with record casualties among civilians and combatants alike on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border, plans are afoot to further expand the war into Pakistan and to threaten Iran as well.

    Comparisons to Washington's war in Indochina have been mentioned. [11] But Pakistan with its 180 million people and nuclear weapons is not Cambodia and Iran with its population of over 70 million is not Laos.
     
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  3. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    it could only happen when any of stupid fools terrorist carried out this stupid job but there aern`t so stupid . plus pakistan state wont allow this to happen so this article is false or begin promoted by pakistan establishment itself so as to deter america form attacking iy or so that to have more money /arms
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    what happens when China proliferates some more nukes after this??
     
  5. lurker

    lurker Regular Member

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    unless Pakistan is much closer to the terrorists or much closer to disitegrating than we think, there is almost no chance this is on the agenda, though there are likely plans if the worst should happen. The success of such an operation would be questionable under the best circumstances.
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Will there be any country called pakistan left to which china can proliferate after usa operation...=heheh==ev++vil++
     
  7. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    deal is simple, either the paks go after the haqqani and hekmatyar terror groups or the americans are going to do the clean up job. if the paks do it, it wont be as messy and nasty and at the end pakistan will be able to sustain itself but if the americans and NATO were to do it, this war will eventually be fought right in the heart of pakistan, which will mean a completely unstable pakistan and every possibility of baluchistan falling apart as a new country in the region, also a permanent base for the americans.

    is this war right now about their nukes, well i seriously doubt it but if pakistan were to get extremely unstable then sure this is going to be a war about pak nukes and nothing less and at that end they will have no one to fall back on neither the chinese nor the saudis. better sense says paks do as they are told, if not, the job will be done by hook or crook.

    by the way all those terror threats in england/france/germany could just be false flags. paks better get their act together!
     
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Another thing is pakistan is beng seen as shifting into chinese camp permanently.And china projecting its military power near and abroad coercing the usa allies has been ringing alarm bells in pentagon.so usa dont want to meet the fate of USSR at the hands of china in afghanistan.usa is very much eager to leave afghanistanm to its fate so that it can secure it pacific front where china is taking advantage of usa's afghan quagmire.
     
  9. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    I've heard rumours of this before. In 2007, Frederick Kagan, the author of US war plans in Iraq and a former West Point military historian, drew up plans to capture Pakistani nukes in the event of a crisis or conflagration and take it to a remote 'redoubt' in Pakistan or New Mexico. The plans included using State Department contractors in Pakistan, to install moles, and to use elite British - US troops to seize movable warheads after installing confederates in Strategic Command. From all accounts, that has not worked. Official US figures put Pakistan's nuclear arsenal at more than 50 warheads, independent estimates put it at 250 warheads and they are buried deep inside the mountains and deserts of regions within the country. Besides, how do they plan to move the warheads? Plane, perhaps? But then, they'd have to do it in piece-meal. And any piece-meal venture will alert elements inside the Pakistani military, who are still loyal to the nation. Going to war with the country is not an option, it'll need half a million soldiers just to occupy certain tracts of land in Pakistani-occupied Punjab and Sindh. And the US, in its present state, cannot do it. Let's not deal with cardboard caricatures here, but the facts. As much as we may want the destruction of that turd of a turdu-speaking nation, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon. The best is to keep destabilizing them, until, when a full-fledged war breaks out, they are certain to see devastation. Ofcourse, there's always they're G-stringing China.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  10. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Why the heck US and India forces train together this much?
     
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The matrix unloaded

    The Pakistan GHQ decision matrix that General Kayani was bequeathed by his predecessors.

    [​IMG]



    :happy_2::emot15:
     
  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    CIA, Pakistan Locked in Aggressive Spy Battles

    CIA, Pakistan Locked in Aggressive Spy Battles

    U.S. Tries to Probe Pakistani Nuke Program while Maintaining Anti-Terror Ties; Pakistan Allegedly Uses Double-Agent Schemes

    CBS News, WASHINGTON, July 6, 2010

    (AP) A Pakistani man approached CIA officers in Islamabad last year, offering to give up secrets of his country's closely guarded nuclear program. To prove he was a trustworthy source, he claimed he had spent nuclear fuel rods.

    But the CIA had its doubts. Before long, the suspicious officers had concluded that Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, was trying to run a double agent against them.

    CIA officers alerted their Pakistani counterparts. Pakistan promised to look into the matter and, with neither side acknowledging the man was a double agent, the affair came to a polite, quiet end.

    The incident, recounted by former U.S. officials, underscores the schizophrenic relationship with one of America's most crucial counterterrorism allies. Publicly, officials credit Pakistani collaboration with helping kill and capture numerous al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Privately, that relationship is often marked by mistrust as the two countries wage an aggressive spy battle against each other.

    The CIA has repeatedly tried to penetrate the ISI and learn more about Pakistan's nuclear program; and the ISI has mounted its own operations to gather intelligence on the CIA's counterterrorism activities in the tribal lands and figure out what the CIA knows about the nuclear program.

    Bumping up against the ISI is a way of life for the CIA in Pakistan, the agency's command center for recruiting spies in the country's lawless tribal regions. Officers there also coordinate Predator drone airstrikes, the CIA's most successful and lethal counterterrorism program. The armed, unmanned planes take off from a base inside Pakistani Baluchistan known as "Rhine."

    "Pakistan would be exceptionally uncomfortable and even hostile to American efforts to muck about in their home turf," said Graham Fuller, an expert on Islamic fundamentalism who spent 25 years with the CIA, including a stint as Kabul station chief.

    That means incidents such as the one involving nuclear fuel rods must be resolved delicately and privately.

    "It's a crucial relationship," CIA spokesman George Little said. "We work closely with our Pakistani partners in fighting the common threat of terrorism. They've been vital to the victories achieved against al Qaeda and its violent allies. And they've lost many people in the battle against extremism. No one should forget that."

    Details about the CIA's relationship with Pakistan were recounted by nearly a dozen former and current U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

    An ISI official denied that the agency runs double agents to collect information about the CIA's activities. He said the two agencies have a good working relationship and such allegations were meant to create friction between them.

    But the CIA became so concerned by a rash of cases involving suspected double agents in 2009, it re-examined the spies it had on the payroll in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The internal investigation revealed about a dozen double agents, stretching back several years. Most of them were being run by Pakistan. Other cases were deemed suspicious. The CIA determined the efforts were part of an official offensive counterintelligence program being run by Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI's spy chief.

    Pakistan's willingness to run double agents against the U.S. is particularly troubling to some in the CIA because of the country's ties to longtime Osama bin Laden ally Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and to the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Taliban faction also linked to al Qaeda.

    In addition to its concerns about Pakistan's nuclear program, the CIA continues to press the Pakistanis to step up their military efforts in North Waziristan, the tribal region where Hekmatyar and Haqqani are based.

    CIA Director Leon Panetta talked with Pasha about ISI's relationship with militants last year, reiterating the same talking points his predecessor, Gen. Michael Hayden, had delivered before him. Panetta told Pasha he had needed to take on militant groups, including those such as Hekmatyar and Haqqani, a former U.S. intelligence official said.

    But the U.S. can only demand so much from an intelligence service it can't live without.

    Recruiting agents to track down and kill terrorists and militants is a top priority for the CIA, and one of the clandestine service's greatest challenges. The drones can't hit their targets without help finding them. Such efforts would be impossible without Pakistan's blessing, and the U.S. pays about $3 billion a year in military and economic aid to keep the country stable and cooperative.

    "We need the ISI and they definitely know it," said C. Christine Fair, an assistant professor at Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies. "They are really helping us in several critical areas and directly undermining us in others."

    Pakistan has its own worries about the Americans. During the first term of the Bush administration, Pakistan became enraged after it shared intelligence with the U.S., only to learn the CIA station chief passed that information to the British.

    The incident caused a serious row, one that threatened the CIA's relationship with the ISI and deepened the levels of distrust between the two sides. Pakistan almost threw the CIA station chief out of the country.


    A British security official said the incident was "a matter between Pakistan and America."

    The spate of Pakistani double agents has raised alarm bells in some corners of the agency, while others merely say it's the cost of doing business in Pakistan. They say double agents are as old as humanity and point to the old spy adage: "There are friendly nations but no friendly intelligence services."

    "The use of double agents is something skilled intelligence services and the better terrorists groups like al Qaeda, Hezbollah, provisional Irish Republican Army and the Tamil Tigers have regularly done. It's not something that should be a surprise," said Daniel Byman, a foreign policy expert at the Saban Center at Brookings Institution.

    Nowhere is the tension greater than in the tribal areas, the lawless regions that have become the front line in what Panetta described on Sunday as "the most aggressive operations in the history of the CIA."

    The area has become what's known in spy parlance as a wilderness of mirrors, where nothing is what it appears. The CIA recruits people to spy on al Qaeda and militant groups. So does the ISI. Often, they recruit the same people. That means the CIA must constantly consider where a spy's allegiance lies: With the U.S.? With Pakistan? With the enemy?

    Pakistan rarely - if at all - has used its double agents to feed the CIA bad information, the former U.S. officials said. Rather, the agents were just gathering intelligence on American operations, seeing how the CIA responded and how information flowed.

    Former CIA officials say youth and inexperience among a new generation of American officers may have contributed to the difficulties of operating in the tribal regions, where the U.S. is spending a massive amount of money to cultivate sources.

    After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the CIA dispatched many young officers to Pakistan and Afghanistan to recruit al Qaeda spies. Young officers sometimes unwittingly recruited people who had been on Pakistan's payroll for years, all but inviting Pakistan to use their longtime spies as double agents, former CIA officials said.

    The Pakistanis "are steeped in that area," Fuller said. "They would be tripping over a lot of the same people."

    Many former CIA officials believe a lack of experience among agency officers led to the bombing in Khost, Afghanistan, last year that killed seven CIA employees. The CIA thought it had a source who could provide information about al Qaeda's No.2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was believed to be hiding in the tribal lands. But the person turned out to be a double agent wired with explosives.

    Ironically, the CIA steered the source to Khost because officers were concerned ISI would spot him if they brought him to Islamabad for questioning or possibly even arrest him because he was an undocumented Arab.

    But experience isn't always the problem.

    One example of how the suspicious relationship constrains operations was the CIA's base in the remote town of Miram Shah in North Waziristan. U.S. military and CIA officers worked with the ISI together there, under the protection of the Pakistani army, which kept the base locked down.

    The two intelligence agencies sometimes conducted joint operations against al Qaeda but rarely shared information, a former CIA officer said. Haqqani spies were well aware the CIA was working there, and the base frequently took mortar and rocket fire.

    Two former CIA officers familiar with the base said the Americans there mainly exercised and "twiddled their thumbs." Just getting out of the base was so difficult, U.S. personnel gave it the nickname "Shawshank" after the prison in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption."

    The CIA closed the base last year for safety reasons. None of that tension ever spilled into the public eye. It's the nature of intelligence-gathering.

    Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/06/world/main6650616.shtml
     
  13. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Pakistan sparks U.S. anger after secretly accelerating nuclear programme

    Pakistan sparks U.S. anger after secretly accelerating nuclear programme

    By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
    Last updated at 2:11 PM on 11th October 2010

    Cooling towers at Khushab-III reactor have been finished Plant could begin nuclear weapons operation within months One kg of plutonium equal to 20,000 tons of normal explosives The U.S. has been left fuming by revelations that Pakistan, an ally in the Afghanistan war, has been secretly accelerating the speed of its nuclear weapons programme, after satellite images of a row of completed cooling towers came to light.

    America has been attempting to cap worldwide stocks of potential material for nuclear weapons - only last year president Barack Obama called for 'a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials'.

    It marks further deterioration in relations between the two countries, following U.S. drone and helicopter attacks on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border which led, last week, to over 100 Nato tankers being destroyed when the Torkham crossing, the main route between the two countries, was shut.

    [​IMG]
    Nuclear power: The Washington-based nuclear watchdog have obtained satellite images of the completed cooling towers at Pakistan's secret Khushab-III reactor.

    Tensions have been bubbling recently after the drone attacks on insurgents and the helicopter fire which killed two Pakistani soldiers.

    As a result the Torkham crossing was closed by Pakistan after the attack, which left hundreds of supply trucks stranded alongside highways and bottle-necked traffic heading towards the Chaman crossing in the southwest of the country.
    At least six drivers were killed in the attacks and although the crossing is now open again, tensions are still simmering.

    [​IMG]
    Trucks await the re-opening of the Torkham border crossing in Pakistan. Despite profuse U.S. apologies for the deaths of two Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border helicopter strike last month, Islamabad has refused to name a date to reopen the route.

    [​IMG]
    One of the fuel trucks still burns after the pre-dawn raid on a village 120 miles from Quetta.

    [​IMG]
    A truck driver sits next to his torched tanker. The attackers used guns and fired a rocket to set fire to them.

    Meanwhile a joint investigation revealed that the Pakistani soldiers began firing at the two U.S. helicopters prior to the attack, a move the investigation team said was likely meant to notify the aircraft of their presence.

    Now a Washington-based nuclear watchdog, the Institute for Science and International Security, has unearthed satellite images showing that the cooling towers at Pakistan's secret Khushab-III reactor have been finished.

    The intelligence hints that the plant could begin operation within months, allowing Pakistan, which is deepening its nuclear ties to China, to increase substantially its stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium.

    [​IMG]
    Pre-empting an attack: American forces have intensified missile strikes against militants in Pakistan from unmanned drones.

    The Obama administration is also disturbed by Chinese plans to build two new nuclear reactors in Pakistan - a move that would bypass Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) rules that bar sales of nuclear equipment to states that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    China contest that it does not need NSG permission to sell reactors to Pakistan, arguing it had committed to the deal before it joined the NSG in 2004 – a claim the United States disputes.

    The U.S. are now worried that tensions are so strained that more sniping attacks are expected. 'There is really mounting concern that we are extremely vulnerable to an attack from a group in Pakistan that could occur,' a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    '[An attack] will change the nature of the relationship, not because necessarily it makes sense to, but because the congressional outcry and the public outcry will be such that you will have to dramatically do things quite differently.'

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said last week: 'We have a very difficult and complicated situation in Pakistan. We have worked hard on this relationship. We understand it's important to our security.'

    Meanwhile Rose Gottmeiler, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, has warned that her country's 'patience is running out'.

    'Pakistan thinks its going to be forced to cap its fissile material stocks and wants to make sure it has as much as it can get before then,' said Asheley Tellis, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    The U.S. were at the forefront of the Conference on Disarmament, a 64-nation coalition that negotiated the 1992 Chemical Weapons convention and the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which agreed to negotiate a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty.

    This was intended to cap production of weapons-grade enriched uranium and most forms of plutonium.

    But Pakistan has stopped the Conference on Disarmament from beginning talks, contesting that a cut-off would harm its national security interests.
    Khushab-III, the latest in a series of reactors built to fuel Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, is located next to Khushab-II which became operational in February.

    Small but lethal weapons can be produced using the plutonium at the plants - just one kilogram can cause an explosion equal to 20,000 tons of conventional explosives.

    Production at Khushad III has been going ahead despite Pakistan struggling with the fallout from the recent floods, which inflicted damage estimated at £27 billion.
    Pakistan argues that the nuclear weapons programme is necessary in order to counter the superior conventional forces of India, its local enemy.

    Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists estimated recently that Pakistan had assembled 70-90 nuclear warheads to India's 60-80, and had produced enough fissile material to manufacture another 90 more.


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...lerating-nuclear-programme.html#ixzz12d5wQOqJ
     
  14. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    One thing is certain: all these media reports, threats of the Taliban taking over their arsenal and suggestions of US appropopriation of their nukes have focused the world's attention on Pakistan's nuclear program. With the result, that people have begun to consider this another extremely dangerous, perilous banana republic. In consequence, delegates to the U.N. and to the IAEA, who're respond to their governments, who in turn are responsible to their people, find it more difficult to support nuclear deals between Pakistan and third countries, especially in the EU. It also becomes a focal point from which to mount any future war and justification of deviance, when the US decides it has enough troops to occupy certain parts of the country- if ever, in the very long term.
     

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