Revelations that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden spent years in Pakistan there must be rattling anyone who believes al Qaeda and its allies can get their hands on the unstable country’s nuclear arsenal.
During his time at a fortified compound, did he manage to sneak supporters into Pakistan’s nuclear sites to gain the ultimate weapon for global holy war?
That’s a question that could haunt some policy makers in Western capitals for many years.
The answer among experts is a resounding no, but Bin Laden’s stay here is fueling concern about Pakistan’s overall stability, vital for securing its nuclear weapons.Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at a think tank in Washington, said the fact that Bin Laden had managed to evade capture for so long in Pakistan should not raise additional red flags about the security of the country’s nuclear arsenal.
Measures used to monitor people are completely different in intensity than that used to keep track of nuclear weapons.
Experts say weapons are not mated with delivery systems and mastering the nuclear command system could take years — even if al Qaeda, which is known to be actively seeking nuclear material, was able to plant its own nuclear scientists.
So al Qaeda or its allies launching a Pakistani nuclear warhead seems inconceivable.