Could Pakistan Use Nuclear Weapons in a Future Conflict with Afghanistan?

W.G.Ewald

Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2
Professional
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
14,139
Likes
8,594
Could Pakistan Use Nuclear Weapons in a Future Conflict with Afghanistan? | Small Wars Journal
A possible scenario: The first use of a nuclear weapon since World War 2, happened in Afghanistan, where Pakistan used a tactical nuclear weapon on the plains just north of Kandahar"¦

It was early May, and the Pakistani advance into Afghanistan was stalled slightly north of Kandahar, on the road to Kabul. The terrain favoured the defender, and the Afghan National Army had been fighting well, against a hesitant Pakistani offensive. It was slightly more than a year ago Pakistan had begun the first larger scale ground incursions into Afghanistan, trying to quell the Pashtun terror and rebellion on the Pakistan side of the border. The safe havens in Afghanistan had to be eliminated, less the terror may destabilize Pakistan itself, was the rationale in Islamabad. With a stalled offensive on its hands, and the prospect of an endless counter insurgency engagement in Afghanistan, a long time enemy, the political and military top in Pakistan was increasingly tempted to use the Pakistan military trump card; nuclear weapons.

On the 21st of May, the Afghan National Army had massed forces for a counteroffensive in the arid rocky desert, against a weaker Pakistan contingent. Pakistan feared, that a tactical defeat here, would both turn the public opinion inside Pakistan itself, but also give the Kabul government the will to continue the struggle indefinitely. It was now or never, that Pakistan should assert its supremacy over Afghanistan as a country, and the Pashtun terrorists. The decision was made in Islamabad to use a tactical nuclear weapon against the massing Afghan Army.

This article explores the future of Afghanistan, post-ISAF, and speculates into the developments of the existing conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The origins behind this conflict promises it to be the dominant conflict following the ISAF withdrawal from Afghanistan, and it is likely to determine the future for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Particularly developments in Pakistan can affect the development, not less because the two countries may consider each other equals, save the fact that Pakistan possesses a nuclear arsenal.

I will argue, that the nature of this conflict, between two Muslim states, equal in perceived size and righteousness of cause, but with one state possessing nuclear weapons, may escalate into the first instance of use of a nuclear weapon since 1945. Dreadful and speculative as it may sound, and luckily is, I will argue that all the necessary conditions are met, for it to realistically occur. Let us hope, it does not.
 

The Messiah

Bow Before Me!
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2010
Messages
10,809
Likes
4,619
Afghans would fight a war without an airforce ?

If pakistan were to wage a war with afghanistan then a slight transfer of troops by India to the border would insure all the pakis would collectively shit themselves.
 

pmaitra

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
33,262
Likes
19,593
Imagine this plausible denial:

ISI nukes cities in Afghanistan, and then Pakistan blames it on 'non state actors.' :D
 

Yusuf

GUARDIAN
Super Mod
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
24,324
Likes
11,755
Country flag
Pakistanis won't do it. It goes against their doctrine. And it will invite massive retaliation from international community.
 

pmaitra

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
33,262
Likes
19,593
^^

Not sure about doctrine, Yusuf. If the Pakhtuns demand greater Pakhtunistan, and if separatism really takes a bad shape, I won't be surprised if tactical nukes are used, after they are 'stolen by militants' in a (staged) terrorist attack.

It would, however go against Pakistan's long term interests. Imagine all the radioactive clouds raining over northern Pakistan.

One has to be really desperate to do something like that. Anyway, I think chances, as of now, are remote.
 

Iamanidiot

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2009
Messages
5,325
Likes
1,504
Iam with Pmaitra here,Pakistanis being Pakistanis they can conjure up and materialise a lot of screwed up scenarios.Yusuf Pakistan now also has a extremely horrific Pakhtun problem which they have to face if U.S vacates Afghanistan
 

Yusuf

GUARDIAN
Super Mod
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
24,324
Likes
11,755
Country flag
Iam with Pmaitra here,Pakistanis being Pakistanis they can conjure up and materialise a lot of screwed up scenarios.Yusuf Pakistan now also has a extremely horrific Pakhtun problem which they have to face if U.S vacates Afghanistan
All the more reason why Pak will not nuke the Pakhtun population in Astan. Imagine what will happen in Pakistan's own borders.

The OP is total :facepalm:
 

Iamanidiot

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2009
Messages
5,325
Likes
1,504
All the more reason why Pak will not nuke the Pakhtun population in Astan. Imagine what will happen in Pakistan's own borders.

The OP is total :facepalm:
But we have not seen them display such common sense a good example 1971 and Baluchistan.Now the Pakjabi has to worry about his begum being snatched by the Pathan
 

Blackwater

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
21,157
Likes
12,211
Imagine this plausible denial:

ISI nukes cities in Afghanistan, and then Pakistan blames it on 'non state actors.' :D

this is what world wants, that nukes comes in the hand of non state actor so that ammmerika can snatch all nukes from pak
 

Zarvin

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
302
Likes
54
The answer is no. Nuclear weapons are a deterrent against other Nuclear powers. I don't know where you get these articles that so carelessly discuss nuking other nations.
 

Daredevil

On Vacation!
Super Mod
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
11,615
Likes
5,772
The answer is no. Nuclear weapons are a deterrent against other Nuclear powers. I don't know where you get these articles that so carelessly discuss nuking other nations.
Are you sure its only against other nuclear powers?. Can you post the doctrine of Pakistani nukes?.
 

Zarvin

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
302
Likes
54
Are you sure its only against other nuclear powers?. Can you post the doctrine of Pakistani nukes?.
Unofficially, it is, the reason they came into existence in the first place was because India got them---it won't be used against Afghanistan, Pakistan army and our tribals had fought those Pashtunistan warriors in border skirmishes already. Not to mention, the current Afghan Army is made up of non-Pashtun Tajiks who don't believe in Pashtunistan.

Again, the talk of nuking nations, especially Afghanistan is a joke. The world already says we control the Taliban which has 60% of Afghan territory under its belt and the whole country perhaps when the US leaves in 2014.
 

Blackwater

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
21,157
Likes
12,211
Unofficially, it is, the reason they came into existence in the first place was because India got them---it won't be used against Afghanistan, Pakistan army and our tribals had fought those Pashtunistan warriors in border skirmishes already. Not to mention, the current Afghan Army is made up of non-Pashtun Tajiks who don't believe in Pashtunistan.

Again, the talk of nuking nations, especially Afghanistan is a joke. The world already says we control the Taliban which has 60% of Afghan territory under its belt and the whole country perhaps when the US leaves in 2014.
USA wont leave Afghanistan until it breaks balochistan and and merge with south Afghanistan
 

Daredevil

On Vacation!
Super Mod
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
11,615
Likes
5,772
Unofficially, it is, the reason they came into existence in the first place was because India got them---it won't be used against Afghanistan, Pakistan army and our tribals had fought those Pashtunistan warriors in border skirmishes already. Not to mention, the current Afghan Army is made up of non-Pashtun Tajiks who don't believe in Pashtunistan.

Again, the talk of nuking nations, especially Afghanistan is a joke. The world already says we control the Taliban which has 60% of Afghan territory under its belt and the whole country perhaps when the US leaves in 2014.
Yes, i forgot about that point.

I have made a thread discussion Pakistan nuclear doctrine and threshold. Please visit and give your opinions

http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/pakistan/39862-pakistans-nuclear-threshold.html
 

blank_quest

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2012
Messages
2,119
Likes
925
Country flag
Unofficially, it is, the reason they came into existence in the first place was because India got them---it won't be used against Afghanistan, Pakistan army and our tribals had fought those Pashtunistan warriors in border skirmishes already. Not to mention, the current Afghan Army is made up of non-Pashtun Tajiks who don't believe in Pashtunistan.

Again, the talk of nuking nations, especially Afghanistan is a joke. The world already says we control the Taliban which has 60% of Afghan territory under its belt and the whole country perhaps when the US leaves in 2014.
1. so you believe what the word says
2. you believe that Taliban Terrorist (because you said Taliban not "Talib's") are under Pakistani "control" .. so infact they are just the proxy of Pakistan.
3. what proportion/percentage of population is to be counted of the world for it to be a world view ?
:troll:
 

Jim Street

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2012
Messages
279
Likes
126
Country flag
Their economy is not going to improve any soon and you guys think they will use nukes against Afghanistan ? It will be economical and political suicide and Pakistan's so called ally won't even support it anymore.

Even if they do, nuclear dust will enter Pakistan and not to forget hundreds of anti-Pakistan terrorist groups that will emerge .
 

Zebra

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Messages
6,060
Likes
2,303
Country flag
Unofficially, it is, the reason they came into existence in the first place was because India got them---it won't be used against Afghanistan, Pakistan army and our tribals had fought those Pashtunistan warriors in border skirmishes already. Not to mention, the current Afghan Army is made up of non-Pashtun Tajiks who don't believe in Pashtunistan.

Again, the talk of nuking nations, especially Afghanistan is a joke. The world already says we control the Taliban which has 60% of Afghan territory under its belt and the whole country perhaps when the US leaves in 2014.
The US will never leave Afghanistan totally.
 

Jim Street

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2012
Messages
279
Likes
126
Country flag
The US will never leave Afghanistan totally.
You talking about 40,000 special forces soldiers to be left post-2014 ?

Any such attack will give US another reason to target Pakistan's nuke and India's constant reminder to the world that Pakistan is unstable.
 

Zarvin

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
302
Likes
54
My point is even if ANA stays in power or the Taliban come into power, neither believes in Pashtunistan or invading Pakistan. Tajiks don't have any claim with Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban, although they don't believe in Durand line as a border, never considered extending their territory east of it.
 
Last edited:

thakur_ritesh

Ambassador
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
4,435
Likes
1,733
It makes practically no sense for Pakistan to use nukes on Afghanistan, even the non-state actor is out of question here. World community understands well the whole non-state actor thing, but are not ready to call off their bluff completely. WoT and negotiating with a gun pointed to their forehead continues to help Pakistan.

The international reaction to a nuke attack on Afghanistan will be so severe, forget the nukes being taken out, even the existence of Pakistan as a country as one entity will be at stake, and very possible, new countries emerging in the neighborhood. Pakistanis understand the consequences, they understand the threshold limits, and are playing well within so far. Even Iran for that matter knows it's limits.

It is not so much nukes being exploded in Afghanistan that worries the west, but they are more concerned, what if trickle by trickle pilferage happens without anyone noticing and the bomb comes to their home and is exploded by the terrorists, as highlighted by wikileaks in the transcripts between the former US ambassador to Pakistan and the White House. Realistic? Not sure, but if the terrorists can sneak in through the sea or by air, a lot of things are possible.

Though, it is pointless giving a clean chit to Pakistan. Experience with them shows, they are capable of the most naive things.
 

Latest Replies

Global Defence

Articles

Top