Taliban Raid Raises Concern Over Pakistan Nukes

A Taliban raid on a Pakistani airbase that destroyed some of the country’s newest surveillance planes has heightened concern that the military is unable to guard its own assets, including nuclear weapons. The attack May 23 on the navy base in Karachi, the country’s biggest city, marked the deepest strike into an armed forces facility since militants stormed a building in the army’s general headquarters in Rawalpindi in 2009. The military, which oversees security for the nation’s estimated 70 to 120 nuclear warheads, has since 2008 sought to counter International Atomic Energy Agency fears about the safety of the stockpile. “People will continue to suspect that we can’t protect our nuclear assets,” Muhammad Waseem, a political science professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, said by phone. The militant “organizations have ideological support within the security establishment from lower- to mid-level officers because we trained them and fought with them before 9/11.”