Pakistan on Thursday said that the country’s strategic nuclear assets were safe under a robust command and control system.
Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman Moazzam Khan told a weekly news briefing that the world should not have concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Elaborate measures are in place to secure these assets, he said.
Khan’s remarks came hours after a group of terrorists stormed the Kamra airbase in Punjab, which is believed to house nuclear weapons. Nine terrorists and a soldier were killed during the attack.
Khan was also reacting to recent comments made by US defence secretary Leon Panetta that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.
During a news conference in Washington on Tuesday, Panetta had said: “The great danger we’ve always feared is that if terrorism is not controlled in Pakistan, then those nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands”.
Meanwhile, the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on Thursday said the brazen attack was carried out to avenge the deaths of Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed responsibility for the attack in phone calls to reporters in Pakistan’s restive northwest and vowed to target more.
He claimed his organisation carried out the attack on Kamra airbase in Punjab to avenge the deaths of bin Laden, Mehsud and other fighters who were killed by security forces.
Ihsan claimed the attackers had succeeded in achieving their targets and had dealt a “lethal blow” to security forces.
The Taliban can attack at will and will target other security installations till a “true Islamic state” is established in Pakistan, he said. He claimed the militants had killed over a dozen security personnel, but officials denied the claim.