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Wiki Cables Expose Insecurity Over Pakistan's Nukes

Wednesday, 01 Dec 2010 10:47 AM


What does it say about a relationship with a crucial ally when you're unsure about the safety of its nuclear arsenal, worry about the stability of its leader, suspect the intentions of its powerful military leadership, and even cast doubts about your own, covert drones program in its territory? Those are the questions that are glaringly raised by the latest tranche of State Department cables regarding Pakistan released by the WikiLeaks website and published by a number of media outlets, according to a Time magazine report.

Despite breathless denials of a threat to Pakistan's nuclear stockpile from both Washington and Islamabad, the leaked cables reveal that both American and British diplomats expressed fears that Pakistan's fissile material could slip into the hands of Islamist extremists, or even precipitate a forbidding nuclear exchange with arch-rival India. As far back as December 2008, a National Intelligence Estimate noted that despite the "pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate that any other country in the world."

It was a development at cross purposes with Washington's longstanding but increasingly forlorn attempts to wean Pakistan away from its strategic obsession with India. In September 2009, Mariot Leslie, a senior British diplomat, told her U.S. colleagues: "The U.K. has deep concerns about the safe and security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons," according to a cable that was classified at the highest level. Pakistan developed its nuclear program in rivalry with India's, whom Pakistan's military leadership, and perhaps others, continue to perceive as the nation's chief threat, as the cables reiterate.

Read the entire story at time.com

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