Nuclear attack fears as terrorist raids on atomic bases revealed
The Taliban and al-Qa'ida have attacked Pakistan's nuclear weapons bases at least three times in the last two years, it was claimed yesterday.
The allegations, by a leading British expert on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, added to fears that terrorists could acquire a nuclear device or bomb an atomic facility.
Professor Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at Bradford University, gave details of three attacks since November 2007 and raised the spectre of more.
He said militants had struck a nuclear storage facility at Sarghoda on November 1 2007; launched a suicide bomb assault on a nuclear airbase at Kamra on December 10 2007; and set off explosions at the entrances to Wah cantonment, one of Pakistan's main nuclear assembly plants, in August 2008.
The attacks were carried out despite an extensive security cordon and millions of dollars in American technical aid to prevent militant infiltration.
Pakistan's nuclear weapons establishments are protected by heavily armed soldiers, while inside, sophisticated sensors guard against intruders.
But despite this system, Prof Gregory said the facilities remained vulnerable because they were in areas where "Taliban and al-Qa'ida are more than capable of launching terrorist attacks".
The risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons was "genuine", he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)