U.S. President Barack Obama had told his staff in late 2011 that Pakistan could 'disintegrate' and set off a scramble for its weapons, claims a new book by David E. Sanger, chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times.
The book, published earlier this month, assumed an added importance after U.S. officials started asking Pakistani diplomats, visiting officials, lawmakers and even journalists to read the book, reports The Dawn.
The book identifies Pakistan as President Obama''s "biggest single national security concern" and it quotes Obama telling his senior aides that he had "the least power to prevent" a possible disintegration of this nuclear-armed country. And he also could not control the scramble for Pakistani nukes that this disintegration would cause.
The book - "Confront and Conceal: Obama''s Secret War and Surprising Use of American Power" - also claims that every three months or so, the Americans tried to meet the Pakistani nuclear establishment, as discreetly as possible.
Because of huge Pakistani sensitivities, the meetings were never announced, and to avoid discovery and the inevitable questions that would follow, they were held in cities where the participants could slip in and out unnoticed, the book claims.
One administration official told the author the process had impressed the White House with "how seriously the Pakistanis take nuclear security, perhaps more seriously than anyone else in the world".
Nevertheless, U.S. officials still feared things could rapidly spiral out of control if Pakistan ever imploded; an eventuality, he added, that "you can''t handle with better training and equipment". (ANI)