Pakistan shuffling nukes frequently in low security vans

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Terrorism in Pakistan
Washington, Nov 5: Fearful of a surprise US raid, Pakistan is shuffling its nuclear arsenal frequently in low security vans on congested roads, making them more vulnerable to snatch by Islamic terror groups.

Nuclear bombs capable of destroying entire cities are being transported in delivery vans on congested and often unmarked roads to hide them from the US, the country that funds much of Pakistan's military budget, two US magazines reported.

The Atlantic and the National Journal, in a joint report said that Pakistan's Strategic Plants division (SPD), which is charged with safeguarding Pakistani nukes has been ordered to shuffle the arsenal often to keep the location of nuclear weapons and components hidden from US and India.

Quoting American and Pakistani sources, the journals said the US raid on Abbottabad to kill al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had provoked anxiety among the Pakistani army hierarchy about their weapons leading to increasing the pace of movements of the arsenal.

The journals said that before the American raid Pakistanis were moving the nuclear weapon components by helicopter and in armoured well defended convoys, but now the SPD was indulging in subterfuge, by moving the war heads in civilian vehicles.

US intelligence officials said that Pakistanis were not only using low security methods not only to transfer merely "de-mated" components, but also "mated" nuclear weapons, raising widespread concerns in the west.

The western nuclear experts, the journal said are more worrisome as Pakistan is now building small tactical nuclear weapons for quick deployment.

"In fact not only is Pakistan building these devices, but it is also now moving them over roads" the journal said, adding that the pace of dispersal movements has increased.

PTI

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