Pakistan nukes safe from terror attacks, says US
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements at Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV channel Monday, Gates said the US considered Pakistani arrangements to secure its nuclear arsenal against Islamic terrorists sufficient and adequate.
There has been mounting anxiety over the Islamic nation’s nuclear arsenal of 80 to 100 weapons in view of threats from the Pakistan Taliban.
Last month, Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the University of Bradford in Britain, said that home-grown terrorists thrice attacked Pakistan’s nuclear facilities in 2007 and 2008, though Islamabad denied these attacks.
The US defence secretary told the Qatar-based television network that as per their assessment the “security arrangements for the Pakistani nuclear capabilities are sufficient and adequate”.
He said Islamabad has assured the US that it has adequate security arrangements for their nuclear weapons and related laboratories.
Gates said the Pakistani government and the military have performed beyond American expectations since the installation of the civilian government 16 months ago.
He said they have effectively tackled the Pakistan Taliban in the Swat valley and other tribal areas and the subsequent refugee crisis.
Gates said the US is willing to give any help to Pakistan “in any way we can”.
Ruling out that the Pakistani intelligence was supporting the Taliban against the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, he said now “we are in the same trench, working for the same goal”.
President Barack Obama is soon to announce whether to send more troops to the region to deal with rising violence by the Taliban.
But his deputy Joseph Biden is sceptical about more troop presence in Afghanistan. Instead, Biden wants the US to concentrate on stabilising Pakistan against the Taliban threat.