Tags: bolton | pakistan | Afridi | nuclear

Bolton: Pakistani Radicals Could Control Nuclear Weapons

Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 11:09 AM

By Greg McDonald

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton is warning again that it would be a mistake for the United States to completely withdraw from Afghanistan, which he believes could lead to radical elements in Pakistan asserting more control over that country's nuclear weapons.
 
"That is the key reason why we're making a mistake by pulling out of Afghanistan," Bolton told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Monday evening. "If the Taliban take back over there, the risk [that the] Pakistani Taliban and other radicals will simply gain control in Pakistan, I think, increases significantly."
 
Bolton made the comments shortly after Fox News reported that jailed Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, said he was told by his Pakistani interrogators that "Americans are our worst enemies."
 
Bolton said he was not surprised by the doctor's remark, saying "the issue in Pakistan has always been whether the radicals will take over the country and  supply of nuclear weapons."
 
Bolton described the Pakistani Inner Services Intelligence (ISI) division of the military, the organization holding Afridi, as a radical group that has helped fund the Taliban for years, as well as the Haqqani terrorist network.
 
"We made the mistake going back to the Reagan administration . . . that our aid to the Mujahedin [in Afghanistan] largely be funded through [ISI]. And they fathered the Haqqani network," Bolton told Van Susteren.
 
"That is a 30-year long problem. The question is now whether you just throw the whole country under the bus out of frustration with this and risk that those nuclear weapons come under radical control."
 
Bolton called the U.S.-Pakistani relationship "very unpleasant," adding that it's not likely to get any easier, given the fact the military would like to get rid of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, considered a U.S. ally, and replace him with one of their own.
 
If that happens, said Bolton, "Think of al-Qaida with nuclear weapons. That's what I think about."

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