'Bush didn't oppose AQ Khan's release to keep Pak interested in war on terror'

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Washington, Dec 2 (ANI): While the Bush administration remained silent amid rumours that Pakistan was about to release disgraced nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan from house arrest, a top US official urged Washington to 'strongly oppose' the move, a diplomatic cable unveiled by WikiLeaks has revealed.

The Bush administration stayed silent over the rumours, as struggling to get Pakistan's help in the war against al Qaeda, it could not risk reminding the world of a case, which Pakistani officials kept saying was closed, The New York Times reported.

In private, it was a different story altogether, as Richard Boucher, the top US State Department official for South Asia, urged the United States to oppose the scientist's release by the Pakistan government.

According to a leaked cable, on April 10, 2008, Boucher wrote that the embassy in Islamabad should "express Washington's strong opposition to the release of Dr Khan and urge the Pakistan government to continue holding him under house arrest".

Releasing him would "undermine" what Pakistan had done to fight proliferation, he added.

"The damage done to international security by Dr Khan and his associates is not a closed book," he wrote, noting that the US and others were still dealing with the Khan network's sale of technology to Iran and North Korea "and possible other states".

The world was dealing "with the reality that the uranium enrichment technology and nuclear weapons designs that were sold to Libya are now available to other states and non-state actors," he said. (ANI)

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