Terrorists cannot access Pakistani nukes, says US
WASHINGTON, Aug 16: The United States said on Thursday that despite a daring terrorist attack on the Kamra airbase, it had no reasons to believe that the militants could access Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
The assurance came from both the State Department and the Pentagon as the Pakistanis also tried to assure the world that recent terrorist attacks posed no threat to their nuclear arsenal.
“We have confidence that the government of Pakistan is well aware of the range of potential threats to its nuclear arsenal and has secured its nuclear arsenal accordingly,” State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland told a briefing in Washington.
“We do talk about these issues and support Pakistani efforts to keep them secure; we have for quite a long, long time. And you know, we don’t have any reason to be concerned at this moment,” she added.
Earlier at the briefing, journalists expressed serious concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear installations, pointing out that the airbase attacked early Thursday morning also possibly had some nuclear weapons as well.
Ms Nuland, however, reminded the reporters that Pakistan had said the base had no nuclear weapons and the United States also believed that it did not.
“Pakistan itself has issued a statement in the last couple of hours denying that there was either any nuclear material or any nukes at this site, and we don’t have any information that would contradict that,” she said.
The State Department spokesperson also underlined the need to continue to support Pakistan in the fight against terrorists.
At a similar briefing at the Pentagon, spokesman George Little said the US Defence Department too was not worrying about the safety of Pakistani nuclear weapons due to this attack. “I do not have any indication that this particular attack has endangered the Pakistani nuclear stockpile,” he said. “We obviously work closely and on regular basis with Pakistani counterparts towards the safety of their nuclear programme.”